Meira Leads Honda Field at Nazareth Vitor Meira led the Honda effort Friday in opening Indy Racing League IndyCar Series practice at Nazareth Speedway for Sunday's Firestone Indy 225. The Rahal Letterman Racing driver posted a best lap of ...
Meira Leads Honda Field at Nazareth
Vitor Meira led the Honda effort Friday in opening Indy Racing League IndyCar Series practice at Nazareth Speedway for Sunday's Firestone Indy 225. The Rahal Letterman Racing driver posted a best lap of 165.301 mph to end up second, between fellow Brazilians Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan.
Defending race winner Castroneves was quickest in both the morning and afternoon practice session, with a fast lap of 165.667 mph set in the second session, while IRL IndyCar points leader Kanaan was third overall for Andretti Green Racing at 165.267 mph in his Honda-powered Dallara.
A quartet of Honda drivers filled out postions six through nine on the time sheets, led by Indy 500 race winner Buddy Rice in his Rahal Letterman Racing entry, followed by Fernandez Racing owner/driver Adrian Fernandez and Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon.
Mark Taylor completed a strong opening day performance for Access Motorsports in 11th overall, while Bryan Herta recovered from handling problems in the morning practice in his Andretti Green Racing entry to finish 14th on the time sheets. Kosuke Matsuura, another driver making his first appearance at the short, tight Nazareth circuit, ended the day 19th for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing.
Honda, which has already clinched the 2004 IRL Manufacturers' Championship, will be seeking its 12th consecutive race victory in Sunday's 225-lap feature, with live television coverage on ABC.
Vitor Meira (#17 Centrix Financial Rahal Letterman Racing Honda): second fastest: "I had never seen the track before this weekend. But Buddy [Rice] took me around in the rental car and showed me a few lines to run. It is a lot like a road course, it has uphills, downhills, flat turns and banked ones. So it is very different than the other short ovals. It is a very fun track, a driver's track. The car felt very good from the start and a lot of that is because of Buddy's test here a few weeks ago. We have been quick in qualifying [this year] but today I wanted to concentrate on the race setup. That is the most important for me right now. From the exit of Turn Three all the way to Turn Two is one big turn and you have to be hooked up for that. Then you can try to pass on the outside of Turn Two and the inside of Turn Three."