Indy 500: Refreshers cleared, more needed from rookie Enerson

JR Hildebrand and Stefan Wilson have completed their Refresher tests for the 105th running of the Indy 500, but RC Enerson’s car suffered a mechanical failure while running his Rookie Orientation Program.

Indy 500: Refreshers cleared, more needed from rookie Enerson

The Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) comprises Phase 1 – 10 laps at 205-210mph, Phase 2 – 15 laps at 210-215mph and Phase 3 – 15 laps above 215mph. The Refresher test comprises Phases 2 and 3. 

Hildebrand, who is driving the #1 ABC Supply-sponsored fourth AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet, was the first to complete his course, turning a fastest lap of 218.298mph.

Wilson required a little more time in the LOHLA/Cusick Motorsports-backed sixth Andretti Autosport-Honda, as he had airflow issues with the top of his helmet, where he found the chinstrap cutting into his neck as the helmet lifted. However, Race Control allowed him to run his last seven laps of Phase 3 in the day’s season-closing two-hour session, and he completed the required number of laps without issue.

Rookie Enerson was both lucky and unlucky. Driving Top Gun Racing’s-Chevrolet-powered car, he was in Phase 2 and looking fast and smooth, but he pitted after 27 laps and the team discovered a split CV boot that had spat grease over the right-rear corner of the car. The team later indicated his day was over while they effect repairs.

While Hildebrand’s Refresher run was smooth, it has been a tough day for a couple of Foyt’s other drivers. Charlie Kimball was unable to take part in this morning’s session as the team was still converting it from road course spec to oval spec, as the #11 took part in last Saturday’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and then the track was closed on Sunday.

Then 45mins into the two hour session that was open to all participants, full-time Foyt driver Sebastien Bourdais suffered a fire in the right-rear corner, of the #14 ROKiT car, bringing out the caution flags.

The IndyCar veteran indicated to the Peacock livestream reporter that while the cause of the fire had not yet been verified, he was confident it wasn’t engine failure, nor would it require engine replacement.

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