For the majority of the 210-minute Indy Lights afternoon test session it was Belardi Auto Racing sophomore Santiago Urrutia and Andretti Autosport rookie Colton Herta who waged a back-and-forth battle for the top on the time sheet. However, with just under 30 minutes left in the session, Andretti Autosport rookie Nico Jamin bolted on a fresh set of Cooper Tires and turned a lap at 186.278 mph, just eight-hundredths of a second quicker than Herta’s quickest lap. Urrutia, and Herta both went out for one more qualifying simulation on fresh rubber, but neither could top Jamin.[table “67” not found /]
The 12 car field was incredibly tight with the top 11 drivers all turning a lap within a four-tenths of a second of Jamin.
The dozen drivers and cars turned a trouble free 2271 miles (1514 laps) on the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval. Nicolas Dapero, Juncos Racing’s 19 year-old Argentinian rookie turned a total of 194 laps, the most of any driver.
When we asked the veteran drivers what transfers from the high-banked 1.5 mile to the ovals they will race on later in the year, the answer was unanimous. Not a whole lot, but quickly added that that having the opportunity to work on your race craft, practice drafting, and knocking off the oval rust were all benefits to testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.[table “68” not found /]
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire Monday Notebook:
- The lap of 186.278 mph was just shy of Alex Lloyd’s 2007 187.280 mph pole lap, the quickest Indy Lights qualifying lap at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For reference, the NASCAR track record is 181.238 mph set by Brad Keselowski in 2014, and the quickest Verizon IndyCar Series lap was a scorching 218.539 mph lap set by Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006.
- Verizon IndyCar Series team owner and former driver Bryan Herta is at the test observing his son Colton’s official Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire debut.
- Speaking of Herta, the former driver has raced at Homestead-Miami Speedway a total of seven times, and we asked him which of the three versions of Homestead-Miami Speedway he most enjoyed. When the 1.5 mile oval opened in 1995, it was modeled after a miniature Indianapolis Motor Speedway with four distinct corners. In 1997, the track was turned into a true oval with continuous turns at both ends, but only 6 degree banking. The track underwent it’s final reincarnation in 2003 when the turns were banked progressively from 18 to 20 degrees. Herta’s favorite configuration was the second version with the continuous turns and lower banking, explaining that it promoted the best racing.
- There were a couple of familiar names serving as driver coaches in the Carlin pits. Danilo Dirani, former Honda Formula 1 development driver and 6th place finisher in the 2006 season of Champ Car Atlantic is working with Matheus Leist. Neil Alberico will have two-time Indy Lights vice-champion Jack Harvey serving as his driver coach. Harvey looks like he is in great shape and told TSO that he is still working with sponsors to try to put together a deal for IndyCar.
- The last time that Indy Lights raced on the 1.5 mile Homestead-Miami Speedway oval, the top five finishers in the Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka 100 were: 1) Brandon Wagner (Davey Hamilton Racing), 2) James Hinchcliffe (Team Moore), 3) Wade Cunningham (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Adrian Campos Jr. (Team Moore), and Pippa Mann (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports).
- TSO was told to expect an announcement on Thursday that will name the driver for the second Team Pelfrey Indy Lights ride. We think it will make quite a few people happy.
- While not on track today, USF2000 and Pro Mazda drivers were busy taking head shots, doing Road To Indy TV interviews and taking part in a MRTI Media Training session with the NBC Sports Network’s Leigh Diffey. The USF2000 and Pro Mazda drivers take to the 2.21-mile, 14-turn road course for two days of testing beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, February 28, 2017.