Kaiser, Leist, Wickens complete Indy 500 rookie orientation

Image by IMS Photo

Kaiser, Leist, Wickens complete Indy 500 rookie orientation

IndyCar

Kaiser, Leist, Wickens complete Indy 500 rookie orientation

Kyle Kaiser, Matheus Leist and Robert Wickens passed their rookie tests Tuesday on another perfect day for running at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It’s tough to go slow because you have to run the throttle at 60-70 percent and hold it there,” said Leist, breaking into a grin after completing his three phases in A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Chevy. “But I think it’s the proper way to do it.

“Because when it’s time to push it to 215mph and over, you’re ready for it.”

Leist won the Indy Lights race last year and Kaiser, who also competed, said it was beneficial as he takes on his newest challenge.

“You’re going so much faster, I mean that’s obvious, but my turn-in spots were the same and running all those laps last year helped too,” said the 2017 Lights champion who is driving for Juncos Racing.

“I was a little surprised at how light the wheel was and it’s making the car turn a lot better. I just expected a much heavier wheel, like on a road course.”

Kaiser was also thankful for Monday’s open test for IndyCar regulars.

“The track was really rubbered in and that helped us,” he said. “So when it was time to go 215 or over, I was able to go flat out and it felt comfortable.”

Wickens, who came within two laps of winning his IndyCar debut at St. Pete after capturing the pole position, had a little more drama than his fellow first-timers.

His primary Arrow Honda had gearbox issues after he completed his first phase. So they rolled out James Hinchcliffe’s primary Dallara and Wickens was able to complete his final two phases.

“I didn’t have time for pedal adjustments so I wasn’t super comfy and I didn’t want to crash James’ car so I’m glad we got this test out of the way,” Wickens said after making his first laps around IMS counter-clockwise (he competed in Formula BMW on the old F1 course).

“It’s a cool place, but it was bumpier than I thought it would be.”

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