Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong and Meyer Shank Racing’s Tom Blomqvist spent Wednesday lapping Texas Motor Speedway where the duo passed their rookie test on the 1.5-mile oval.
“It was quite fast,” said Armstrong, who turned 180 laps in the No. 11 Honda. “It was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed it. The first proper run in the morning was great. I was just smiling after that first run and even on the in-lap I had a different reaction to what I was expecting. It was a lot more natural than I anticipated and I felt at one with the car later in the day. I found that it was a lot easier to trust the car and the banking. Overall, it was a very positive experience and I’m very grateful that Dario [Franchitti], Scott [Dixon], Eric [Cowdin] and Blair [Julian] could help me out throughout the day.”
Armstrong kept busy during his season of road and street course racing as the New Zealander made trips to every oval to learn what he could while watching teammate Takuma Sato wheel the No. 11 at every event. For Blomqvist, who’s been busy racing full-time in IMSA, his run at TMS was more of a shock to the system as the Briton was immersed in 215mph lapping with no real knowledge of oval driving. His teammate, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, did his best to get the IMSA champion up to speed.
“Fast! It was pretty weird at first, not going to lie,” Blomqvist said after piloting the No. 60 Honda. “But it’s amazing how the mind and body adapt. I enjoyed going fast and by the end, it almost felt like it was in slow motion, relatively speaking. It was great to have Helio there to give me pointers throughout the day. It’s one thing driving around by yourself. Chuck 26 other cars out there and it’s a whole new ball game. Definitely a skill I’m going to need to develop but one I’m excited about.”