Good Day at the Barber
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing completed its pre-season test program Monday at the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park and declared itself ready to focus on earning back-to-back wins in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete IndyCar Series season-opener on April 5.
Graham Rahal, winner of the 2008 St. Pete race, and Robert Doornbos completed the second and final day of testing and were fifth and sixth fastest respectively. Team Penske driver Will Power set the fastest lap of the test at 109.4557 (119.213 mph).
“We had another good day today,” Rahal said, who drove the No. 02 McDonald’s race car to the fifth fastest time of 1.09.9176 (118.425 mph). “The car was pretty good today. We worked through a lot of changes that we weren’t sure about so we learned quite a lot today and found a lot of things that are going to benefit us in the long run. I think we are awfully competitive which is the goal and I think we achieved that. I’m looking forward to going to St. Pete and defending my win there.”
“It was a strong day for us today,” Doornbos, who set a quick time of 1.10.0229 (118.247 mph) to end the test sixth fastest, said. “We started a bit later in the morning because we made some big changes overnight and weren’t done making them yet. But once we got going we were quite competitive. The change we made overnight was so big, so huge, that I never really felt comfortable with it and we didn’t go any quicker so we concentrated on other things. We worked on the brakes and did a lot of pit stops. All in all it was a very good week for Newman/Haas/Lanigan because we learned a lot. We’re looking strong and I’m feeling confident about the first two weekends on street courses.”
The 2009 season will begin with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 5 and will be televised live on the Versus network. NHLR earned their first ICS victory, and 106th of 107 overall in the event in 2008 when Rahal became the youngest winner in series history in his IndyCar Series debut.One Comment