Justin Wilson feels he has made a major breakthrough in his comfort with oval racing as he prepares for his third Indianapolis 500 this afternoon.
The Briton's move to the Dreyer & Reinbold team for 2010 has given him the most competitive oval package he has had so far in his career, but he said the major gains had come through his own increasing experience.
"The biggest change is that you learn to drive an oval very quickly, but learning to understand it and set the car up for that takes a while - and that's what's been happening over the last few years," Wilson told AUTOSPORT. "I've got more experience and I can make the adjustments needed in practice quicker and better, and just chip away at it and make the car better.
"All the time you're trying to anticipate what's coming up, and that is a big part of it -- knowing that the track's going to change, and how it's going to change at the time of day, it all takes experience."
He added that the Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara-Honda was also a more predictable oval car than those he had been grappling with in recent years.
"This year it's a lot more settled and it just gives you a lot more confidence," said Wilson.
Having qualified 11th, he said his initial aim was to get through the first laps unscathed and then start making progress - as he believes his car will be consistently quick on longer runs.
"I just want to survive Turn 1 and then I think settle in and pick them off one by one," he said.
"On Carb Day it didn't run quite as well. We found an issue and fixed it, and I hope it's going to be back to how it was on Bump Day when we were running full tanks and it was great. I'm quite optimistic that we've got a car that can sit there the whole race and pick them off."