Championship points leader Oliver Askew ended the lone Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires session on top of the timing screens, but not by much.
The top four drivers, from three different teams, were within four-hundredths of Askew’s lap of 66.555 seconds. Askew’s closest championship competitor Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) had the second quickest time, ending up less than one-hundredth ahead of Aaron Telitz (Belardi Auto Racing) and Ryan Norman (Andretti Autosport).
“It was a good first session – we ended up P1,” said the Andretti Autosport rookie. “I think there is still a little left in the car but we were on pace right away so we didn’t have many issues at all. The track is very green right now and we’re going to be about three seconds quicker in qualifying tomorrow, so it is going to be hard to make the right decision for the car. Luckily, these guys at Andretti Autosport have a ton of experience from years prior so we’re probably going to have to rely on that more than anything to keep up with the changing track positions. I feel good, the car feels good and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Eight of the nine drivers were within a half-second of Askew.
The final Road To Indy practice session of the weekend began on time at 10:50 am. The skies were overcast, the ambient temperature was 72F, and the track temperature was 85F.
The USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 drivers that we had a chance to chat with after their sessions told us that the track wasn’t as green as they thought it would be, telling us that they did have to adjust their braking points a little and take extra care over the concrete sections.
The early leaders in the session were Dalton Kellett and Aaron Telitz.
With 15-minutes gone in the session, the Gap Guard / Rich Energy sponsored No. 2 of Toby Sowery spun in front of the field at the exit of Turn 8. All the drivers were able to avoid the Brit, and he kept it off the wall and was able to continue, keeping the session green.
At the half-way point of the 40-minute session, it was Telitz, with a lap of 67.090 seconds led the way. Kellett, VeeKay, Megennis, and Askew made up the remainder of the top five.
Drivers began the day with carry-over tires, but at the half-way point had started to come in for fresh Cooper Tire slicks.
We had a chance to watch the onboard from Ryan Norman’s Three Chord sponsored No. 48 and two things stood out. The first is just how bumpy, especially Turn 4 and 5, certain sections of the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit are. And second, the amount of correction required when going from the asphalt to concrete and back to pavement.
With 12-minutes remaining, VeeKay was able to turn a lap that was three-thousandths quicker than Telitz. The duo were the only drivers with laps under 67 seconds with at the three-quarter point of the session.
With seven minutes left, Telitz jumped back to the top of the timing screen.
Points leader Askew and his teammate Norman, along with VeeKay, all went quicker with three minutes left in the session, with all but one driver turning their fastest lap at the end of the session.
The entire 40-minute session was run under the green flag, and the nine drivers were able to complete 251 laps.
Indy Lights Practice # 1 Results
|RANK||CAR NO||NAME||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE||TOTAL LAPS|
|1||28||Oliver Askew||Andretti Autosport||1:06.555||–.—-||27|
|2||21||Rinus VeeKay||Juncos Racing||1:06.590||0.0345||32|
|3||4||Aaron Telitz||Belardi Auto Racing||1:06.594||0.0387||31|
|4||48||Ryan Norman||Andretti Autosport||1:06.596||0.0408||28|
|5||67||Dalton Kellett||Juncos Racing||1:06.820||0.2640||30|
|6||79||David Malukas||BN Racing||1:07.033||0.4773||23|
|7||2||Toby Sowery||BN Racing/Team Pelfrey||1:07.037||0.4813||25|
|8||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||1:07.052||0.4966||28|
|9||5||Lucas Kohl||Belardi Auto Racing||1:08.400||1.8448||27|
The final rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is done for the day. They will qualify for their first race of the weekend at 8:40 am on Saturday morning.