Tuesday afternoon saw three Indianapolis 500 veterans return to the speedway for the refresher course. Jay Howard (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Sage Karam (Dreyer and Reinbold Racing) and Danica Patrick (Ed Carpenter Racing) all participated in the four-hour session. The course requires drivers to run 15 laps between 210 and 215 MPH and 15 laps at 215 MPH or faster.
All three drivers completed the refresher course, with Jay Howard turning the fastest lap of the day at 219.648 MPH. Howard ran the test with teammate James Hinchcliffe’s Dallara-Honda. Karam followed him on the charts with a best lap speed of 218.600, while Patrick ran a best speed of 218.500.
Howard and Karam competed in the 2017 Indianapolis 500, but have not run any races in the Verizon IndyCar Series since. Patrick, meanwhile, last ran the Indianapolis 500 in 2011 before moving on to NASCAR at the end of the IndyCar season. The drivers’ limited recent participation in the series necessitated each to complete the refresher.
Each driver is now allowed to turn as many laps they want at whatever speed they want when practice begins for the 102nd Indianapolis 500. Opening Day at the track is set for Tuesday May 15 in preparation for the race, which will be run on May 27.
There are seven veteran drivers who will log their first laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 15. Pippa Mann (Dale Coyne Racing), James Davison (A.J. Foyt Racing with Byrd/Holinger/Belardi), Oriol Servia (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with Scuderia Corsa), Carlos Munoz (Andretti Autosport), Stefan Wilson (Andretti Autosport), Conor Daly (Dale Coyne Racing with Thom Burns Racing) and JR Hildebrand (Dreyer and Reinbold Racing) are expected to run their first laps beginning on May 15.
Tomorrow will be a dedicated manufacturer test day. Honda will have Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe, Ed Jones and Robert Wickens run during the day. Chevrolet will have Ed Carpenter, Gabby Chaves, Max Chilton, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Matheus Leist, Danica Patrick and Spencer Pigot participate in Wednesday’s session.
Continue to follow Open-Wheels for the latest coverage as teams prepare for the month of May.
Images courtesy of INDYCAR Media.