NHL Racing completes Homestead test Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) drivers Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos completed the first open test of the year in preparation for the 2009 IndyCar Series season today at the 1.5 mile Homestead-Miami Speedway. Venezuelan driver Milka Duno joined them on track for the second and final day in an NHLR-prepared entry in a testing capacity. Ryan Briscoe set the fastest lap time of the day at 212.156 mph. Rahal was seventh fastest at 210.088 mph and completed 112 laps, Duno was 15th at 208.984 mph and completed 99 laps and Doornbos was 17th at 208.906 mph and completed 125 laps. Following are comments from the drivers:
Graham Rahal, No. 02 Dallara-Honda-Firestone: “We had a pretty good day and, overall, a pretty good test. There are still a lot of things we need to figure out here, a lot of things to make the car more consistent and a little bit quicker. We definitely need to learn a lot between now and the time we come back here to race in October. At the end of the day we were pretty quick on our own and ran a 209.7 mph and I don’t know how many guys can really do that so overall I’m pretty happy with our progress.”
Robert Doornbos, No. 06 Dallara-Honda-Firestone: “It was a harder day today. We made a change overnight that was quite radical. The boys needed a couple of hours to do it and already from the third lap onwards we felt it was not the right direction as the car was a lot faster last night. You can’t go back on it because you lose today completely so we did what we could in practice and started running in traffic and with high fuel loads and made lots and lots of changes on the car. I think at one stage we had to calm ourselves down because we were trying too much. It looks like we have a lot of work to do as a team. I am very happy with the first three days and with working with the engineers and all the mechanics. I’m looking forward to the season very much.”
Milka Duno, No. 23 Dallara-Honda-Firestone: “Everything went much better today after having worked together yesterday. We were able to learn how to communicate yesterday and today was much better but still we have much work to do to improve the car. We will continue to work on that next time. Len, my engineer, did a very good job. We tested many different things for the race weekend here and now know the areas we need to concentrate on to make the car better here.”
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