Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi led a 1-2 for Andretti Autosport on Tuesday at the World Wide Technology Raceway oval in Madison, Ill.
Herta’s lap of 181.014mph was nominally faster than Rossi’s best of 180.723mph around the 1.25-mile facility formerly known as Gateway which hosted all four Andretti drivers, both from A.J. Foyt Racing, two from Dale Coyne Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing, and Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, who was third fastest at 180.361mph.
The nine-hour test started in the early afternoon where high heat and humidity kept speeds and lapping to a minimum. But as nighttime conditions arrived that mimic what teams and drivers will experience when the 8 p.m. ET start arrives on August 21, the action intensified.
Of particular interest, DCR’s Romain Grosjean made his oval debut at WWTR, and other than a slow and harmless half spin exiting Turn 2, there were no dramas for the Frenchman or the other 10 drivers in attendance.
“It feels a bit strange,” Grosjean told local reporters. “Very different from everything I’ve been doing before. From only turning left, to having car that wants to turn left on its own. But I must say the pump of adrenaline is really high. It’s fun. There’s a lot that I need to learn about it. So far, I’m really relying on my engineer telling me what to expect and (to) give me the best setups so I can build confidence.”
Rinus VeeKay came away from the day feeling confident about what he and his team learned.
“It was a good test,” said the ECR driver. “Definitely a hard track, hard to get everything right. We started out today with no grip at all. The track was very green. Then we put some rubber down and went pretty fast. It took very little time to get the rubber down. I think we had a good, valuable test day, with similar conditions to the race in three weeks. With the race being a one-day event, this definitely helped us. We had until 10 p.m. — lots of time to get everything right.”
All speeds unofficial:
1. Colton Herta, Andretti Honda, 181.014mph
2. Alexander Rossi, Andretti Honda, 180.723mph
3. Scott McLaughlin, Penske Chevy, 180.361mph
4. Ed Jones, Coyne Honda, 180.144mph
5. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Honda, 180.072mph
6. James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Honda, 179.426mph
7. Rinus VeeKay, Carpenter Chevy, 179.069mph
8. Romain Grosjean, Coyne Honda, 177.445mph
9. Sebastien Bourdais, Foyt Chevy, 176.748mph
10, Dalton Kellett, Foyt Chevy, 176.056mph
11. Ed Carpenter, Carpenter Chevy, 175.644mph