MRTI Spring Training Observations: Indy Lights Oval Test
Although originally scheduled as a eight-hour session, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competitors only got to be on-track for five and a half hours at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the first part of Mazda Road to Indy Spring Training. Showers throughout the night dampened the track, resulting in drying efforts taking up most of the allotted time.
After ranking second highest at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course last year, Colton Herta found himself at the top following the first session on Friday at Homestead-Miami. The Andretti Steinbrenner Racing driver posted a quick lap of 28.617 seconds.
Following a solid rookie campaign, Herta told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL in November his goal this season was to win the championship, so he and the team could make the next step up to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“It would be a lot of weight off of my shoulders,” he said. “I think the Steinbrenners want to move up to IndyCar in the next few years, and this would be a huge boost because we get the million dollar. It would make things a lot smoother and cheaper as well.”
However, the quickest lap of the day honor would not go to Herta. Instead, Ryan Norman’s lap of 28.5622 seconds became the fastest of the day from session two. Herta would rank second on the day overall with his first session lap. Norman is entering his sophomore year, following an 11th-place rank in the year-end standings with a career-best fourth-place finish at Road America.
Rookie Pato O’Ward ran the most laps of all competitors – 114 in total – ranking fourth-highest on the speed charts overall for the day, just 0.1219 seconds behind Norman. The Andretti Autosport competitor gets a chance to run the full campaign this year, following just four starts in 2017. Anticipation has been building for his first season following a runner-up in the Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires standings in 2016.
Surprisingly, only six competitors took to the track during the session, with the Andretti foursome taking the top four spots ahead of the Juncos Racing rookies in both sessions.
3/2/2018 HOMESTEAD MIAMI SPEEDWAY TEST SESSION 2
|1||48||Ryan Norman||Cleveland OH||Andretti Autosport||00:28.5622||–.—-||–.—-||187.170||58||59|
|2||28||Dalton Kellett||Toronto Canada||Andretti Autosport||00:28.6403||0.0781||0.0781||186.660||75||83|
|3||27||Pato O’Ward (R)||Monterrey Mexico||Andretti Autosport||00:28.6841||0.1219||0.0438||186.375||70||78|
|4||98||Colton Herta||Valencia CA||Andretti Steinbrenner Racing||00:28.7531||0.1909||0.0690||185.928||55||63|
|5||23||Victor Franzoni (R)||Sao Paulo Brazil||Juncos Racing||00:29.1527||0.5905||0.3996||183.379||11||38|
|6||7||Alfonso Celis (R)||Mexico City Mexico||Juncos Racing||00:29.1787||0.6165||0.0260||183.216||15||16|
|1||98||Colton Herta||Valencia CA||Andretti Steinbrenner Racing||00:28.6173||–.—-||–.—-||186.810||4||27|
|2||27||Pato O’Ward (R)||Monterrey Mexico||Andretti Autosport||00:28.9873||0.3700||0.3700||184.426||31||36|
|3||48||Ryan Norman||Cleveland OH||Andretti Autosport||00:28.9974||0.3801||0.0101||184.361||5||27|
|4||28||Dalton Kellett||Toronto Canada||Andretti Autosport||00:29.3483||0.7310||0.3509||182.157||8||16|
|5||7||Alfonso Celis (R)||Mexico City Mexico||Juncos Racing||00:29.7713||1.1540||0.4230||179.569||16||31|
|6||23||Victor Franzoni (R)||Sao Paulo Brazil||Juncos Racing||00:29.8968||1.2795||0.1255||178.815||7||35|
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