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Firestone Indy Lights drivers go to class before Open Test
J.K. Vernay had a typical reaction to seeing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.

"It's huge," said the rookie driver from France, who leads the Firestone Indy Lights point standings. "It's very impressive. I've never seen speedway with such long straights. I'm sure it will look much different in my race car."

Vernay - along with rookies Dan Clarke, Adrian Campos Jr., Stefan Wilson and Philip Major and veteran James  Hinchcliffe, Brandon Wagner and Pippa Mann spent the afternoon of May 13 learning the intricacies of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from Indianapolis 500 winners Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser Jr., and Indianapolis 500 veterans Davey Hamilton and Vitor Meira.

While the mode of transportation - a pair of Chevrolet Impalas -  doesn't necessarily compare to the single-seat Firestone Indy Lights car, the information gained from the recon laps applies.

"The car was not fast enough to get the true feeling of Turn 1," Vernay said. "But I really have to give thanks to Vitor Meira and Al Unser for giving us all of this advice."

The group  -- along with other drivers who will compete in the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 28 - will get to apply that advice on May 14 when they take to the track for a one-day Open Test on the Speedway in preparations the biggest race on the Firestone Indy Lights calendar.

"It's a very important test day for me because I haven't had the opportunity to test on an oval this year with Team Moore Racing," said James Hinchcliffe, who won the last Firestone Indy Lights race at Long Beach. "I'm anxious to get on a oval and also start preparations for our biggest race. Hopefully we can a lot of laps in."

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