Syosset, N.Y.'s Lee Posts Fifth-Fastest Time In Indy Pro Series Testing at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla., Feb. 28 - Trying his best to impress potential marketing partners and team owners, Matt Lee posted the fifth-fastest time out of 21 drivers ...
Syosset, N.Y.'s Lee Posts Fifth-Fastest Time In Indy Pro Series Testing at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla., Feb. 28 - Trying his best to impress potential marketing partners and team owners, Matt Lee posted the fifth-fastest time out of 21 drivers participating in the Indy Pro Series open test Thursday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
It was only the third time the 18-year-old driver from Syosset, N.Y. had driven on an oval track. The Indy Pro Series rookie also lost valuable practice time due to clutch problems in the morning.
He ended up getting about an hour and a half of track time during the scheduled six-hour test, but he made the most of it. His fastest lap came on the 79th and final lap he completed on the 1.5-mile oval Thursday, which took 28.6248 seconds for an average speed of 186.761 miles per hour.
Lee's fastest lap was just 0.0720 of a second longer than the fastest lap any driver ran all day. It was posted in the afternoon, while the fastest lap of the test was posted in the morning, when speeds are generally faster due to cooler air temperatures.
Only one other driver in the top 10 posted fewer laps than Lee's 79 circuits. Two drivers ran more than 200 laps, but they placed 10th and 13th.
Lee is trying to compete full-time in the Indy Pro Series, the official development series of IndyCar. The 2008 season opener is Saturday, March 29 at Homestead. All 16 Indy Pro Series races are televised on ESPN2 and run in conjunction with IndyCar races.
"It was an interesting day," Lee said afterwards. "We got a late start; I think it was 2:20 p.m. before we really got going because of the problem with the clutch. But once I got going I felt really good, especially in the draft. I really got comfortable running close with the other guys.
"The RLR/Andersen crew did a great job getting the car back together after the clutch problem," he added. "The engineering department also did a great job to give me a good car for this track. I hope to be able to compete in the race here too; we're working hard on sponsorship."
Dan Andersen, co-owner of RLR/Andersen Racing, was impressed.
"Despite losing a lot of laps, Matt Lee proved he definitely can drive fast on an oval in addition to a road course," Andersen said. "We knew he was fast on road courses due to his background in Formula BMW and Atlantics, but with very little practice he was fast on an oval too."