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May 17, 2014 - 10:40 AM
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Despite Limited Track Time, Rookie Davison Is Eager And Ready To Qualify For Indianapolis 500
Posted by: newsla on May 17, 2014 - 10:36 AM
IndyCar News
Despite Limited Track Time, Rookie Davison Is Eager And Ready To Qualify For Indianapolis 500


The combination of dreary weather and an economical car program has limited the number of practice laps turned by Indianapolis 500 rookie James Davison, driver of the No. 33 KV Racing Technology/Always Evolving Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone. It hasn't limited the newcomer's enthusiasm and eagerness as he prepares to qualify for his first Indy 500 this weekend.

 

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Davison completed 63 laps Thursday, his first time in an Indy car on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, when he successfully finished the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) and logged a conservative top speed of 217.052 mph. They were the first laps he has driven on an oval at speed in an open-wheel car in 4½ years, since his final Indy Lights race of 2009 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Nonetheless. Davison efficiently negotiated the three phases of ROP in less than two hours Thursday afternoon. The car did not take to the track for today's rain-limited final practice session, ahead of the new Indy 500 qualifying format Saturday and Sunday. Regardless, Davison is optimistic he can successfully qualifying his car into the field for the 98th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

"The sole priority is to qualify the car into the race with minimal practice miles and qualifying attempts, so that we're able to save tires and engine miles to work on the race set-up on Monday," said Davison, whose only two previous Verizon IndyCar Series starts have been on permanent road courses in 2013 (Mid-Ohio and Sonoma). "The way I see the weather is that every time it rains, the competition is getting less further away from us because we couldn't run anyhow with our limited program. That's our position, it's not ideal, but I'm not worried about it."

Davison is one of four KV Racing Technology drivers at Indianapolis, joining Sebastien Bourdais (No. 11 Hydoxycut/Mistic E-Cigs - KVSH Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone), Sebastian Saavedra (No. 17 KV AFS Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone) and Townsend Bell (No. 6 Robert Graham - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone) on the defending Indianapolis 500 champion team. There is additional veteran oval experience on hand in KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser and two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is serving as a driving coach at Davison's disposal this month.

"Having Al Unser Jr. around has been honestly fantastic," Davison said. "He's so comforting, so knowledgeable. I couldn't imagine a better coach to have for a rookie running such a restricted program that we are. There's not a lot of time, so to maximize that time, Al has been highly influential to my approach going into driving an Indy car around IMS for the first time at speed."

The new, two-day Indianapolis 500 qualifying format begins at 11 a.m. ET Saturday and resumes at 10:15 a.m. Sunday. ABC will air the conclusion of day one live from 4-6 p.m. Saturday and the battle for the pole position from 1-3 p.m. Sunday. The race is scheduled for Sunday, May 25 and airs on ABC, the IMS Radio Network, Sirius 213, XM 209 and at www.indycar.com at 11 a.m. ET.

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