NHL Racing completes first road course day at Sebring Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) completed their first full day of testing on a road course today at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway since joining the IndyCar Series fulltime one year ago. The team attempted to test here last year prior to Round 2 in St. Petersburg but rain halted the session after approx. six laps. Other test days were utilized to test on ovals.
It was also NHLR driver Robert Doornbos’ first day of testing an Indy car on a road course and he was joined on track by Venezuelan driver Milka Duno who participated in a testing role with the team. The two drivers completed a trouble-free day and were happy with the progress.
“It was good to be in a race car on a circuit I know again,” said Doornbos after completing approx. 100 miles with a best lap time of 53.8. “The Homestead oval was a completely new experience for me so it was good to come to not only a road course, but one I knew. It gave me a chance to use my experience with braking. The downforce is less than I am used to so that took a little time to get used to. Our pace was decent but the track was very slippery because not many cars were running. We made many changes throughout the day and, as rookies get extra miles we were trying to use them in the smartest way possible without wasting them. The test went well both on track and off as I continue to get to know everyone on the team.”
“It was very good to run a full day of testing on a road course,” added Duno after completing approx. 100 miles with a best lap time of 56.2. “It was really my first full test day on a road course after running only a half-day last year here in March where we completed 30 laps. It was only my second test with the team and first on this type of course so we are still getting to know how to work together but it was very good. We made progress in everything we attempted, accomplished a lot and know where we have to improve.”
The team will not run on Wednesday but will resume testing here on Thursday with Graham Rahal and Doornbos. It will also be Rahal’s first full day of testing an Indy car on a road course. The 2009 season will begin with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 5 which will be televised live on the Versus network. NHLR earned their first ICS victory, and 106th of 107 overall in the event in 2008 when Rahal became the youngest winner in series history in his IndyCar Series debut.
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