Indianapolis 500 wildcards Jacques Villeneuve and Kurt Busch have successfully passed their refresher test sessions as they prepare for their one-off outings at next month’s oval race classic.
Almost twenty years since his landmark victory with Team Green, Villeneuve returned to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs and completed a total of 83 laps of running in the bright yellow #5 Dollar General-sponsored entry being run by the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team. The French-Canadian’s fastest run was 217.742mph.
“We weren’t trimmed out yet, but there was no point with the (25 mph) wind and the track was very green. At the end, we even managed to work on the mechanical set-up of the car and that made it nicer [to drive],” Villeneuve said after his day behind the wheel.
Former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch was also behind the wheel in the #26 Andretti Autosports entry sponsored by Suretone, clocking up 66 laps with a fastest effort of 220.844mph before the wind brought rain to the 2,5-mile oval.
The 35-year-old is attempting to become the fourth driver in history to qualify for both the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR race in North Carolina being run on the same day.
“Overall, it was a good day just to settle in with the team and advance further than rookie orientation,” he said afterwards.
“It felt good to give feedback to the team from the car and have them explain things to me how we’re going to move forward. They continued to change downforce combinations on the car and it was just neat to feel all that and check it off the list. The last run we made was just about where they would unload for race trim.”
The pair had to satisfy the test requirements and demonstrate consistent car control, placement and driving patterns at set speed intervals.
The first official practice session gets underway on May 11, with qualifying taking place on the weekend of May 17-18.
Image via Motorsport.com