By Patrick Stephan
The first on track action of the day came with the 4:00pm start of the Indy Lights practice session. The entry list here features just 11 cars – sadly – this is a great venue for them. Scott Anderson waited a bit before heading out, and then on his fifth lap, he spun from the high groove in turn three, making light rearward contact with the wall. It had seemed like many were taking it pretty easy, including Anderson, and had just started getting on it when Anderson had his incident.
About 25 minutes in to the session, Spencer Pigot was leading Serralles and Piedrahita. Quick time was a 25.116. A few minutes later though, Piedrahita lowered the top lap time to a 25.0211.
Note that the track record here is a 24.5189, held by Esteban Guerrieri who put that lap in during two lap qualifying back in 2011. The quickest race lap here was by Mario Romancini in 2009 at 25.3397.
Interesting to hear from Rob Howden on the IMS Radio Network coverage of the session that Max Chilton did not test here, thus making this session his first at The Milwaukee Mile. And recall that his car broke on the starting grid at the Freedom 100, so he wasn’t able to run the series first oval race of the season. Chilton seems set on making up for that missed oval experience as he was the first driver to surpass 50 laps and had 52 in the books about 35 minutes in to the session.
Up front at that point we started to get some qualifying simulations and Kyle Kaiser jumped to P1 with a 24.9446. Piedrahita jumped back to P1 as he took new tires himself and ran a 24.9364. That wouldn’t hold up for long though with Ed Jones from Carlin Racing taking the top spot with his own sub 25 second lap, this time a 24.8303. And the order would further bounce around from there with more and more driver’s getting fresh tires for their qualifying sims.
When it all settled out we wound up with the field really tightening up and Jack Harvey came from way down the time sheet to P1 with a 24.735 second quick lap. Ed Jones also made a big jump, moving to P2, followed by Pigot, Piedrahita and RC Enerson who was fifth.
Max Chilton was just 10th on the time sheet, but he did close the gap thanks in part to 63 laps of practice. That turned out to be second most, with seventh placing Kyle Kaiser turning 66 laps in the session. The gap from 1st to 10th was just 0.477 seconds.
Here is the time sheet for the first (and only) Indy Lights practice session. They will qualify at 6:30pm tonight (after the Verizon IndyCar Series practice).
P No Name FTime Diff Laps FL Team
1 42 Jack Harvey 24.735 0 54 52 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
2 11 Ed Jones 24.83 0.0948 47 46 Carlin
3 12 Spencer Pigot 24.849 0.1135 50 45 Juncos Racing
4 5 Juan Piedrahita 24.856 0.1209 50 47 Belardi Auto Racing
5 7 RC Enerson 24.871 0.1351 49 42 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
6 4 Felix Serralles 24.926 0.1906 52 52 Belardi Auto Racing
7 18 Kyle Kaiser 24.945 0.2091 66 49 Juncos Racing
8 51 Shelby Blackstock 25.065 0.3298 51 47 Andretti Autosport
9 71 Ethan Ringel 25.153 0.4177 45 8 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
10 14 Max Chilton 25.212 0.477 63 62 Carlin
11 77 Scott Anderson 26.199 1.4636 4 3 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports