Rahal’s pair get through a trouble-free test day in Sonoma

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This isn’t something we’ve been able to say enough this year: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s pair of IndyCar drivers have gone through a full day of testing without any issues popping up.

Graham Rahal has lost two of IndyCar’s rare official test days – one at Barber in March before the season, and one at Mid-Ohio in August – with mechanical and fuel issues. So completing 58 laps, most in the field of 25 cars on Wednesday, was something of an accomplishment for the driver of the No. 15 Honda, now back in Big O Tires livery this weekend for the first time since Long Beach.

“Overall I feel good about the progress we made today,” he said in a release. “We tried a lot of things. Sure we are disappointed that our overall lap time isn’t quite as quick as we would like but we are chipping away at it. We started our test day earlier and used up our three sets of tires earlier than everybody else so I don’t feel bad about where we are at. We finally got the car to do some things that you would expect the car to do and we haven’t had that yet this year so I feel like we made some big steps here this afternoon. Now hopefully we can just fine tune around that setup and find some time. Up to this point, every time we have hit the track it has been after a very large change. Hopefully after today we won’t have to do that.”

Rahal’s best lap clocked in 19th, two spots behind teammate and occasional revelation this season, James Jakes. Jakes said his Acorn Stairlifts team also tried a handful of items but wasn’t particularly pleased with the end result.

“We thought we had made a lot of progress and then, at the end of the day, it didn’t seem to be the case. It’s pretty frustrating,” Jakes said. “Things were looking pretty good mid day and then the wind shifted and turned 180 degrees and kind of turned the track upside down. It’s back to the drawing board which is pretty frustrating. The times are pretty close to get into the top-10, we only need a few tenths (of a second) so we just need to find a little bit more time.”

Newgarden fastest as Castroneves returns in weather-shortened Barber test

Photo: IndyCar
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The Verizon IndyCar Series took to Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday for an open test, with 24 entries tackling the 2.38-mile road course.

Weather intervened in the afternoon, preventing nearly the entire field from going out, but the weather held off during the morning enough for one session to be run in its entirety.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden led the way, with a quick lap of 1:07.979, ahead of Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. For Castroneves, this marked his first IndyCar outing of 2018.

Helio Castroneves was back in an IndyCar on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

Sporting the Pennzoil “yellow submarine” paint scheme, Castroneves turned 41 laps around Barber in the morning session, with a quick lap of 1:08.315. He was also the only driver to venture out on track in the afternoon, completing eight laps.

The Dale Coyne Racing duo of Sebastien Bourdais and Zachary Claman De Melo completed the top five.

Results are below.