We've made a good start for WIX Filters, Motegi Racing and the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team as a whole. Wish we could have given them some more to get excited about today, but as you know, Sunday was a total washout with the weather.
The positive side of the rainouts? We have a restricted tire program as a non-full-time team, which means you can't just go out there and pound around because you've got to save those tires for mock qualifying runs later in the week. So having just one day of rain can make the situation better for us because no one can take advantage of the difference between the haves and the have-nots. However, I'm still seven (I think) sets down on them – so we're still at a disadvantage. With no track action today, that puts one set back in the bank.
I was real pleased with the pace of the Dreyer & Reinbold's WIX Filters car yesterday, though. Right out of the box, it felt good. We were on pure race setups, and we started out exactly the way the team's cars finished last year's Indy 500 – same downforce, same shock package, same wing package. In the end, we did three runs, and made some minor adjustments for each, and every run was quicker – 220mph, then 221, then 222. My D&R teammate Justin and I finished 10th and 11th out of the 32 cars on track, so that was pretty encouraging. The car was much easier to drive than KV Racing's car from last year, which was a struggle whenever track temperature went up. I hear they were struggling for grip again on Saturday. I'd say the comfort level in our No. 23 car, in terms of extracting the lap times, was more like KV's car in 2009.
Then it looked like rain was coming, so we took the car back to the pad to check it over and while we were there, it started to rain, so we decided to call it a day then.
You may have also seen from photos that I tried a different brand of helmet (the black one) – which is probably the coolest-looking one out there, but at the moment, the Arai just seems to work better – it's very easy to set up and it's easy to get the aerodynamics right for drivers of various heights and seat heights. I'll try this other brand one more time after some modifications and see how it is.
Today was pretty dull. It's the other side of being part of the Indy 500. I went to the gym, went to the garage, had a couple of interviews, talked with the team, messed around on the simulator with Justin, came back to the bus, watched MotoGP and went to Wal-Mart and got some groceries and towels.
Then my engineer, Yves Touron [with Paul, RIGHT], came over here for an hour, talking setups and shooting the breeze. We're ready to go tomorrow, because at the moment, the forecast says the weather's going to be OK at least for the first two days of the week. Yves has got a list of test programs to make our way through. I think everyone will probably do the same as us – start with the tires we used the other day, just to do a shakedown run, and then grab a new set to go testing. We won't go out right away, because with 18 hours of rain, the track's going to be green, so we'll let others go out and put rubber on the track.
Now I'm back at the bus, watching the rerun of MotoGP. Easy day, but boring. There hasn't been a whole lot of social mixing and mingling, other than with Townsend Bell. Every time I get to my bus, he's lying on the couch like he owns the place. I came in this morning from the gym and he was sitting here eating breakfast, and then this afternoon I got back to my bus to find him here eating our bread and sandwich meat. He seems to think he can drop off one can of Herbalife protein drink in exchange for the use of the bus for three weeks. He's even been trying to take over the remote control, too, but that's never gonna happen.