Wheldon Fourth Quickest in IndyCar Opening Practice Dan Wheldon led the way for Honda in the opening practice sessions Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, posting the fourth-fastest time as preparations began for Sunday's season-opening Indy...
Wheldon Fourth Quickest in IndyCar Opening Practice
Dan Wheldon led the way for Honda in the opening practice sessions Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, posting the fourth-fastest time as preparations began for Sunday's season-opening Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race.
The Andretti Green Racing driver ran third-quickest in the afternoon practice session, and fourth on combined times as teams continued to adapt to several chassis and engine rule changes made by the IRL for the 2004 season. These changes include a reduction of the maximum fuel load to 30 gallons U.S. from the previous 35 gallons, larger chassis sidepods and changes to the airbox that reduce the volume and pressure of air going into the engine. In addition to these changes, engine capacity will be reduced from the current 3.5 liters to 3.0 liters, starting at this year's Indianapolis 500.
Other Honda-powered drivers posting top-10 speeds today included Bryan Herta (seventh), Buddy Rice (eighth) and Tony Kanaan (10th). Rookie Kosuke Matsuura moved up four positions in the afternoon session to end the day 14th. Dario Franchitti and Greg Ray had their total laps limited by mechanical and set-up issues, ending the day 16th and 17th overall.
Final practice and qualifying takes place Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with the opening race of the 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season scheduled to receive the green flag at 2 p.m. Sunday, with live television coverage on ESPN.
Buddy Rice (#15 Pioneer/Argent Team Rahal Honda) eighth fastest: "That was a good day for our team. I am so pleased with how Team Rahal works with the car. We've had some difficulty in the tests and the team went back to the shop and studied the setups and made some real improvements. We had full tanks this afternoon, concentrating on the race setup, and the car felt good. It is much improved from our test here a month ago. We'll see how we qualify on Saturday but I think we can be good in the race."