Month of May Kicks Off on Opening Day at IMS
Carpenter leads speed chart, 3 rookies pass ROP
Tristan Vautier leads AJ Allmendinger during Rookie Orientation (photo courtesy INDYCAR)
The cars took to the track Saturday for Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
When asked what it feels like to return to IMS, many of the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers had the same reaction as Josef Newgarden. Newgarden said it feels amazing to be back in Indianapolis, a sentiment shared by fellow drivers Alex Tagliani, Pippa Mann and last year's series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Newgarden was the first to take a lap at the famed Speedway as Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard waved the green flag signifying the beginning of the month of May. Before waving the green flag, Ballard had a chance to ride in this year's Pace Car, driven by IMS President and CEO Jeff Belskus.
Three of the four rookies in this year's field completed their Rookie Orientation Programs. Last year's Firestone Indy Lights Champion Tristan Vautier, NASCAR standout AJ Allmendinger and current Indy Lights championship points leader Carlos Munoz all completed their programs in about 90 minutes. Fellow rookie and Noblesville native Conor Daly will take to the track on Monday after returning from Spain where he finished third in the first of two races in GP3, a feeder series for Formula One.
Ed Carpenter topped the speed charts in practice, recording a speed of just under 221 miles per hour. He was followed by Newgarden, Munoz, Charlie Kimball and Tagliani.
Weather permitting, drivers will have a week's worth of practices before qualifying begins next Saturday.