Ed Carpenter Racing experienced the highs and lows of running at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday as Conor Daly led the rain-shortened Open Test in his No. 47 ECR Chevy while teammate Rinus VeeKay opened the day with a hard crash in the No. 21 ECR car that broke a bone in his left index finger.
Daly’s Air Force-sponsored car made use of a tow to post a best lap of 222.714mph in the 18 laps he was able to complete before showers brought an end to Thursday’s test.
“There’s no denying that, but you slot in where you slot in on the track,” he said of the aerodynamic assistance. “Not a massive tow to begin with, but it’s definitely affecting the car. The car is quick. The front (turn-in) was a little sharp initially, but we made some adjustments. To have this test is so important; it’s just nice to be here.”
Thanks to the spirited winds and modest temperatures, teams were in no hurry to venture out when the track went green Thursday morning. VeeKay was the first to turn laps at speed and made it four laps before an apparent gust of wind unsettled the back of his car and sent it into a punishing spin and crash. Of the 32 drivers in attendance, 21 were able to tour the 2.5-mile oval prior to bouts of rain that limited opportunities for all the veterans. Of the 21, Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward was the most active, completing 23 laps in the No. 5 Chevy.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan was pleased with progress in the No. 48 Honda after completing 11 laps on the day.
“Awesome day — I haven’t been in the car for nine months,” he said. “This deal has been brewing for so long and seeing pictures of Jimmie (Johnson) and the guys at the track for so long and now it finally became my turn. So, a really positive day — short day but it was a good day. The only thing we can’t control in this place is the weather.
“I would have love to have done a few more laps but the car felt comfortable, it’s like riding a bike. Coming back to Ganassi — everybody is still here. That goes to show how solid the team is — people that were here four years ago when I left are still here. It’s honestly like I just came back and never left. That is a good feeling and it’s one less thing that I will have to adapt to. I’m working with Eric (Cowdin), my engineer, and we have been together for 23 years. It was a good day – every day at the racetrack is a good day.”
While the weather brought an early conclusion to proceedings for the series veterans, rookies and drivers doing refreshers made it onto the track after conditions improved.