By Steve Wittich

Four drivers representing four teams topped the first Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires test of the Chris Griffis Memorial Test, and the top six drivers were all within one second of Victor Franzoni’s (Belardi Auto Racing) quick lap of 75.307 seconds.

Rinus VeeKay, the new Pro Mazda Presented By Cooper Tire champion had the second quickest time after moving into the “Soul Red” car that Franzoni occupied at Juncos Racing last year.

The remainder of the top five were: Oliver Askew (Andretti Autosport), Parker Thompson (Team Pelfrey) and Robert Megennis (Andretti Autosport).

A total of 9 drivers representing four teams turned laps during the first of three Saturday sessions.

The entire session ran under green flag conditions with the nine drivers turning a total of 195 laps.

Andretti Autosport and Askew, Megennis and Ryan Norman

Andretti Autosport drivers won 14 of the 17 Indy Lights races during the 2018 season, and with Patricio O’Ward, Colton Herta and Norman finished in first, second and fourth in the championship. The team also started on pole in 14 of 17 races and stood on 32 of 51 possible steps of the podium.

J.F. Thorman told TSO Ladder this morning that the goal is to run four Indy Lights cars next year. The Andretti Autosport President said to us that if not for European racing schedules (see note on that later) they would have a few European drivers testing this weekend.

Norman, who finished fourth in this year’s competitive Indy Lights championship has one win, one pole, four podiums, and 14 top-five finishes in 34 Indy Lights starts. Unfortunately, the 20-year-old was not able to turn any laps in that session due to a mechanical issue with the No. 48.

Askew, the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda champion is testing the No. 27 that Patricio O’Ward drove to the Indy Lights championship. Over the course of the last seven races of the season, the Jupiter, Fla. native moved from sixth in points to third, with one win, four podiums and a worst finish of sixth.

Oliver Askew is getting his first taste of Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires machinery (Photo by Steve Wittich)

Megennis, who finished fifth in the 2018 Pro Mazda Presented By Cooper Tire championship, with six podiums, is driving the No. 98 for the Indianapolis, Ind. based team. The New Yorker was grinning from ear-to-ear before and after he got out of the car.

Saturday – Indy Lights – Chris Griffis Memorial Test session #1 results

1 6 Victor Franzoni Belardi Auto Racing 1:15.307 –.—- 23
2 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:15.534 0.2274 24
3 27 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:16.051 0.7439 24
4 2 Parker Thompson Team Pelfrey 1:16.150 0.8434 26
5 98 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:16.240 0.9326 24
6 5 David Malukas Belardi Auto Racing 1:16.266 0.9593 23
7 4 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:16.553 1.2456 24
8 7 Heamin Choi Juncos Racing 1:17.664 2.3569 25
9 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 4:52.404 3:37.0968 2

Indy Lights is back on track at 2:15 PM and 5:15 PM for 45-minute sessions.