Junior Strous Logs First Laps on Homestead Oval
Speed Impresses Dutch Rookie in First Lights Outing
Homestead, FL. (Feb. 20)-The smile on his face probably said it all as Junior Strous got his introduction to the ultra-fast world of oval-track racing Friday at the Homestead-Miami Speedway
Strous, the 22-year-old rookie driver from Wassenaar, The Netherlands, logged a total of 150 laps during a day of private testing for newcomers who will compete in this year's Firestone Indy Lights Championship.
His best time of the day was 29.1 seconds around the 1.485-mile circuit. To put his performance in perspective, Andrew Prendeville had a quick time of 28.6 seconds in last year's official practice at Homestead and pole position winner Raphael Matos had the fastest lap in qualifying at 28.4 seconds.
Team Manager Paul Diatlovich was understandably pleased with the day's results.
"In the first session, we had him run laps to get him acclimated and then we made some adjustments and he got down into the low 29s (29-second bracket)," Diatlovich explained. "At that point, the fastest time of the day was 28.6, so we were less than a second off. However, today was not about setting times; it was about getting the driver comfortable and used to driving the car and the track."
Strous had raced here previously, but that event employed the track's infield road course. Friday was his first-ever opportunity to drive on a pure oval track.
"Today was great," Strous exclaimed. "I'm amazed at the speed of the car. I just don't know what to say! It's amazing how fast they go through corners and for me, it's been an alien and a strange experience.
"It took a little getting used to it, but eventually, we were able to run the track flat out. This was also the first time with Tim Wardrop (the engineer) so it was good to work with him. Every time I came out of the car, I had a big smile. Now I have some time to think about what we did so I can be ready to run next week."
Strous and his fellow Indy Lights rookies will participate in an open test on Monday 23 February with the veteran drivers joining them on Tuesday 24 February.