ALEX LLOYD LEADS SECOND DAY OF INDY PRACTICE AS BOTH RLR DRIVERS TOP 220 MPH INDIANAPOLIS- The first rudimentary steps of driving in the Indianapolis 500 having been completed yesterday, the Rahal Letterman Racing/Chip Ganassi duo of Ryan ...
ALEX LLOYD LEADS SECOND DAY OF INDY PRACTICE AS BOTH RLR DRIVERS TOP 220 MPH
INDIANAPOLIS- The first rudimentary steps of driving in the Indianapolis 500 having been completed yesterday, the Rahal Letterman Racing/Chip Ganassi duo of Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Alex Lloyd (#16 Rahal Letterman Chip Ganassi Dallara/Honda/Firestone) got down to business on a Chamber-of-Commerce weather Monday in Central Indiana.
Lloyd and Hunter-Reay took advantage of the final day of rookie practice and made big gains in speed from yesterday's tentative ROP program, with Lloyd vaulting all the way to the top to the chart with a best lap at 223.033 mph (40.3528 seconds). Hunter-Reay kept pace all day despite running in his backup #17 machine, turning his best lap of 220.839 mph (40.7537 seconds) on his final flying lap of the afternoon.
"We are just going through our checklist, our second day on the track," Hunter-Reay said. "We'd like to be faster but we have steadily improved the car over the day and ran our best time on our last lap so that is something positive to build on for tomorrow."
Lloyd has taken no time at all in adjusting to his IndyCar surroundings, despite the large gap between the 190 mph that his Firestone Indy Lights car turned at Indy and the 223 mph blur that he ran today. With the help of engineers from Rahal Letterman Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing, as well as the expert tutelage of former Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, Lloyd and the #16 car are less than 3 mph off of last year's pole speed after two days.
"I have the benefit of a lot of good people from both Chip Ganassi and Bobby Rahal and they have really given me a great car so far," Lloyd said. "I am feeling really good out here but this place takes a little getting used to. It doesn't seem like a jump from 190 to 220 would be that much but it makes a big difference in what you do out there.
"These cars are on a knife's edge out here and in the Indy Lights car, the knife's edge was a little more blunt and you had room for error," Lloyd continued. "Here your reaction times have to be so much quicker. We gradually started to take the downforce out of the car today and the car felt good, but we are still holding a great amount of respect for this track and what it can do, so I am sure my engineer Andy (Brown) has some more steps for me."
The RLR squads both did their first full-speed pit-stop practices at the end of the day, with each team doing a handful of simulated stops as the clouds rolled in at the end of the day. Things will pick up tomorrow as the entire prospective field will start practicing on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis oval and teams begin the quest for speed.
The pole for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 will be determined during Saturday's qualifying, along with the first eleven spots on the grid. Positions 12-22 will be locked in on Sunday, with the rest of the field to be determined next weekend.