The one returning driver to the Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend, Italian Luca Filippi, ended fourth overall and third in second practice in his first day in an IndyCar since Houston last fall.
“It was a great day. I was obviously very motivated but to finish in the top three (in the second practice) is amazing,” he said after the session. “We have to keep our feet on the ground and work harder because it’s going to be a long weekend with two races but we have the opportunity to do well obviously. So we just have to do a clean job.
“At the moment I feel good with the car,” he added. “There are some things we can still improve to suit my driving style but my confidence is good and I feel very thankful to the team, to Bobby and everybody who is working with me to make this happen.”
Meanwhile Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal was within 0.3 of Filippi, albeit 10 spots lower on the combined practice charts of 14th. Considering he didn’t get a run on new tires in the No. 15 National Guard RLL Honda, he’s pleased with where he is.
“I think the National Guard car is very competitive and I think there is more time in it,” he admitted. “We didn’t get a run on new tires so we don’t really know its potential but I think it’s probably a top-five car at this point. I just have to keep working on myself and find a bit more speed. I think we’re learning; we’ve just got to keep going forward. I think we will have a pretty competitive car tomorrow.”
Rahal also praised the job done by event organizer Mike Lanigan for resurfacing of the front straight, which while still bumpy, was an improvement on last year’s circuit.