Last week the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was buzzing with excitement, as 29 drivers hit the 2.5-mile oval in preparation for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. Today, 14 drivers were able to turn more laps at IMS, this time on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. The only constant between the two test days was the weather.
While the threat of raindrops don’t have the same effect on the road course as the oval, Mother Nature couldn’t figure out exactly what she wanted to do. Early in the day it was too wet for slick tires, and not wet enough for the rain tires. Fortunately, things improved greatly just after Noon ET on Monday. The temperatures were up, the precipitation went away, and the sun finally came out. Things got busy very quickly for the Honda drivers.
Despite putting down the least amount of laps on Monday, Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta had the fastest time of anyone. His lap of 69.5283 seconds was just a tick faster than the Ganassi duo of Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist. Both of those drivers had more than 90 laps each, but they weren’t all clean. The Rookie brought out the red flag in the final hour of the session when he got off course and ended up in the sand in Turn 4.
Herta won this race last year in Indy Lights, and certainly hasn’t forgotten how to get around. Rosenqvist has also raced here before, but says being in an IndyCar is much different. “Honestly, it was weird,” he said. “When I went out this morning, I forgot how the track is, the turns. I had one corner where I tried to do third gear and it was actually first. Normally, I don’t do that. I actually forgot. Now I know it again. It has a good flow to it, it’s a fun track.”
Fellow Swedish Rookie Marcus Ericsson was also excited about the opportunity to race on the road course before the “Month of May” activities begin. “It’s more of a European-style track feeling, for sure, quite smooth with some big braking,” Ericsson said. “It reminds me of that. But the lap is still quite short. It’s something I’m more used to. For me, it’s good. I like these tracks. I love Barber and Long Beach, they have lots of character, these types of tracks. I love that.”
Teams and drivers will return to the speedway a week from Friday, when practice and qualifying will take place for the IndyCar Grand Prix. The race on Saturday, May 11 will air live on NBC at 3 PM ET.