INDIANAPOLIS (May 27, 2011) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan has officially done all it can do on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval to prepare for Sunday’s running of the Indianapolis 500, today completing the final Indy Car practice session for Sunday’s centennial Indy 500.
Having qualified in the middle of Row Five for Sunday’s race, Bertrand Baguette (#30 RACB/Aspria Dallara/Honda/Firestone) spent much of the hour-long Carb Day session running practice pit stops and gathering as much information as he could about the car despite the fact that Friday’s weather was nearly 20 degrees colder than it is forecast to be on Race Day.
“It was a short session for us to see if everything was OK with the car, but we couldn’t work on much because the conditions will be so different on Sunday,” Baguette said after completing 40 laps with a top speed of 222.678 mph (40.4171 seconds). “We did some running in traffic and the car felt good. The Firestone tires gave me great grip and performance today and helped to boost our confidence for the race.”
Jay Howard (#88 Service Central Dallara/Honda/Firestone) spent Carb Day running on full fuel tanks, working on getting the car to work in traffic, as the Englishmen plots his strategy for moving up from his starting spot on the outside of Row Seven. Howard ran 25 laps with a best orbit of 223.041 mph (40.3514 seconds)
“This is the first time that I have run full tanks in this car and I was very happy with the way the car handled,” Howard said. “We are still looking for a little balance on the car, but we got some good information and we should be able to make the necessary adjustments to be good in the race. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan guys have been working very hard all month to get this Service Central car toward the front of the grid and I am confident that we will have a good car on Sunday.”
The team will spend the remainder of Friday and Saturday going over every inch of the Indy Cars, tearing them down and checking every nut, bolt and fitting to ensure that the cars are ready for 500 grueling miles on Sunday. Howard and Baguette will participate in the 500 Festival Parade tomorrow afternoon and will be set to take the green flag for the Indy 500 at noon on Sunday. Fans can follow all of the action live on ABC, or on their local IMS Radio Network affiliate.
Today’s 100th anniversary Indy 500 fun fact
Bobby Rahal won the 1986 Indy 500, beating Kevin Cogan with a late-race pass. Bobby set the fastest race lap on the 200th and last lap of the race to seal the victory. This marks the only time since IMS started logging fastest race laps in the 1950s that the fastest lap of the race occurred on the final trip around the race track.