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DATE News (chronologically)
05/04/08
irl
Rahal Letterman drivers will get extra time at Indy  Rahal Letterman Racing will expand to a two-car IndyCar Series program for the first time this year with the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500, and won’t waste any time in getting those cars on track as preparation gets underway Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The fact that this will be the first IndyCar appearance at the fabled 2.5-mile oval for both Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Alex Lloyd (#16 Rahal Letterman with Chip Ganassi Dallara/Honda/Firestone) will net them extra track time when things get underway on Sunday afternoon.  Both drivers will have two days to complete the IMS Rookie Orientation, which calls for a driver to complete a four-step process in which drivers increase their speed at each step.

“I am really looking forward to tackling the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an IndyCar,” Lloyd said. “I have been fortunate enough to win on the famed oval, so for me Indy is the ultimate. ROP is a great opportunity for me to get up to speed and learn about the car and get comfortable before the real action starts on opening day. My expectations are high and I have been waiting for this day for a long time.”

Once the rookie threshold is crossed, drivers can join the full field at IMS when practice opens on Tuesday as the fight begins for a spot in the 33-car field in the May 25 event. Despite having five seasons of major-league open-wheel experience on his resume, Hunter-Reay is still a rookie at the cavernous IMS race course, having joined the IndyCar Series after last year’s event had taken place.

“I've been waiting for this day for what seems like an eternity,” Hunter-Reay said. “I'm finally going to get my first laps around the most famous race track in America in the Ethanol car.  This is what I dreamt of as a kid, one day driving Indy Cars at 230 mph at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  This is just the first steps down a long road of preparing for race day nearly a month away.  The best part for me....I really want to take it all in and enjoy every second I'm on track.  There would be no feeling in the world like winning here and that's all I can think about, I want to win here.  First, I need to gain experience here at IMS and get a feel for what I want in the car around these two and half miles, then we will develop our race day setup over the next couple weeks.”

The Rahal Letterman Racing squad will be on track all week as both Hunter-Reay and Lloyd will have six hours of track time each day to ready themselves for Saturday’s Pole Day, which determines the first 11 starters in the 500. Eleven more spots will be hung on the board on Sunday with another full day of qualifications. Pole Day kicks off at noon on Saturday as does Sunday’s second day of qualifying runs.

The full field will be set on May 18 with Bump Day qualifications finalizing the battle for the last spots in the event. The Indianapolis 500 begins at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on May 25 and can be seen live on ABC. Fans can follow every on-track session via the official website of the series - www.indycar.com RHR PR

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