05.17.11 (via IndyCar.com) – Mike Conway shook down the No. 27 Hire Heroes car on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after some tweaks overnight, and Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti got in five laps “to get the feel of a different setup.”
That was the extent of on-track action – save for crews tuning up on pit lane for pit stop competition qualifications May 18 – on a day more reminiscent of mid-autumn than mid-spring. The green flag flew at noon for the start of the six-hour session, but light rain sent the flagman packing at 4:05 p.m. The track opens for all cars at noon (ET) May 18.
“We just wanted to feel some of those (changes) and see what we had,” Conway said. “These were certainly not ideal weather conditions and aren’t representative of what we’re going to see in a few days, so it didn’t make too much sense to log a lot of laps.”
It was the second session of preparations for Pole Day/Tom Carnegie Day on May 21 cut short because of weather conditions, which impacts team strategy relating to setup testing and tire/engine conservation. For some, a day lost to the weather is built into the plan. For others, such as Andretti, who’s chasing speed, the lap counter needs to rise.
He has a quick lap of 224.215 mph (40.1163 seconds) in his No. 26 Team Venom primary car with a tow, which is 15th on the combined speed chart. Still, he’s concerned.
“It makes a difference (that he didn’t get in a full session). Who knows if we would have gained or they would have gained on us,” said Andretti, who has three top-five finishes in his five starts at Indy. “I’m really worried about the speed of our car. I’ve driven exactly Danica’s setup 3 miles an hour off of her (lap time). I can’t explain why. I’m worried about qualifying for this race. It is still early days, but I honestly think if you’re not going to be qualifying in the top 10 you should be worried.”
There are 40 entrants who have recorded laps, with 33 starting spots available on May 21-22.
To view Andretti Autosport’s Month of May photo gallery, click here.