Six of the seven rookies currently entered for this year's Indianapolis 500 managed to pass their rookie orientation tests as the second day of practice was rejigged to make up for yesterday's rain delays.
The original plan had been for both of the first two days to start with two hours of open practice for "veteran" drivers before rookies and returnee drivers requiring refresher tests had the remaining four hours of running each day in preparation for the start of full practice on Monday. But with barely half an hour of rookie mileage having taken place between rain showers on Saturday, the track was opened an hour early today and the first three and a quarter hours reserved for rookies and refresher drivers.
Sarah Fisher Racing's Jay Howard -- who still required an Indy rookie test because he lost his Roth Racing seat to John Andretti prior to the 500 in his last IndyCar program two years ago -- was quickest in the session as he successfully passed the orientation tests.
HVM's Simona de Silvestro, former grand prix driver Takuma Sato (KV), Dreyer & Reinbold's Ana Beatriz and Conquest duo Bertrand Baguette and Mario Romancini also completed the orientation program, during which drivers must complete four sets of 10-lap runs at increasingly fast prescribed speeds.
The only rookie yet to finish the program is Bryan Herta Autosport's Indy Lights graduate Sebastian Saavedra, who was halted by a fuel pump failure in the first hour today.
A.J. Foyt IV and Davey Hamilton, returning for Indy outings with Foyt and de Ferran Dragon respectively, joined the rookies on track as they carried out refresher tests.
The full field has now taken to the speedway for a further three hours and 45 minutes of running, the session start being brought forward to 2:15 p.m. to take into account poor weather forecast for later on.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Jay Howard Sarah Fisher 40.3970s
2. A.J. Foyt IV Foyt 40.6240s + 0.2270s
3. Simona de Silvestro HVM 40.6559s + 0.2589s
4. Davey Hamilton de Ferran Dragon 40.8495s + 0.4525s
5. Takuma Sato KV 40.8655s + 0.4685s
6. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold 40.9434s + 0.5464s
7. Bertrand Baguette Conquest 41.1431s + 0.7461s
8. Mario Romancini Conquest 41.3100s + 0.9130s
9. Sebastian Saavedra Herta 42.1586s + 1.7616s