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MRTI Spring Training Observations: Indy Lights Oval Test

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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

Pos No Driver Hometown Team BestTm Diff Gap BestSpd BestLap TotalLaps
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
Pos No Driver Hometown Team BestTm Diff Gap BestSpd BestLap TotalLaps
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

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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