Defending Verizon IndyCar champion Will Power led the way in a two-day test session at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., over the weekend, with a time of 1:07.3118 (123.010 mph).
While it was more of the same for the Penske driver, who won the pole for last year’s race at the 2.38-mile, 17-turn circuit, Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was happy with how his No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda performed during the 149 laps it turned over the two-day session.
Rahal placed seventh on the time chart with a time of 1:07.6203 with a speed of 122.448 mph, making him the fastest of the Honda powered cars.
“It’s nice to finish in the top (seven) here, which has been a place we have struggled at before,” Rahal said afterward.
Rahal should be pleased. In last year’s race at Barber, the ninth-year driver started 17th but finished 18th. In four career races at Barber, Rahal’s average finish is 15.4 with his best being a fourth place run in 2012.
“We’ve got a little work to do for sure though, but I’m pleased with our result because a lot of the guys had a lot more tires than us at the end,” Rahal said. “They just kept running new tires and we had one shot at it and to do a 1:07.62 felt nice.
“Today our objective was to try a ton of stuff as learn as much as we could about the aero and I think they’ve done a heck of a job,” Rahal continued. “We test at Sebring on Monday and Tuesday and its going to be an interesting animal with the fact that it’s going to be pretty grippy after the 12 hour race, but at the end of the day I’m just looking forward to turning some laps.”
In 2014, Rahal had one podium finish in 18 starts with an average finish of 15th.