Rahal team Day 1 test report

On a day when the open-wheel racing world gathered at Homestead-Miami Speedway to celebrate the American unification of the sport, Rahal Letterman Racing spent its day putting in work – so that it might have a chance to celebrate at the end of March.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) took to the 1.5-mile Homestead oval for the first day of the IndyCar Series’ two-day open test, joining 13 other IndyCar drivers in preparation for the March 29 season-opening Gainsco Auto Insurance Indy 300.

The reigning Bombardier Learjet IndyCar Rookie of the Year spent the day looking to benefit from lessons learned from a earlier Homestead test as he gets ready to embark on his first full season of IndyCar Series competition. The team made great gains from its test sessions, but ended up 11th on the time charts today after posting a best lap of 25.3934 seconds (210.527 mph).

“It’s good for us to see how we measure up against the IndyCar guys from last year and see how the homework that you did over the offseason paid off on the track," Hunter-Reay said. “We have already seen improvement based on changes we made at the previous test and we’ll come out tomorrow and keep building on it."

With a number of his former Champ Car drivers on hand to watch the tests – in advance of many teams joining the series as a result of the recent unification – Hunter-Reay turned more than 160 trips around the South Florida oval in search of more speed.

The early afternoon session featured heavy cloud cover and a steady crosswind, but the skies cleared and the winds dropped for the evening session, allowing the team to card 150 miles in two hours and 45 minutes.

“We worked through our test list with no problems and found some things that we expect will pay off tomorrow and on race weekend," said RLR Chief Operating Officer Scott Roembke. “You have to remember that Ryan has a lot of experience, but not necessarily on these types of ovals, even though he won at Milwaukee in the Champ Cars. He is doing a great job and we are continuing to improve across the board."

The Indy Cars will return to Homestead for another day of testing tomorrow, and will then head up to Sebring for two days of road course testing next week. RLR PR

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