With chilly conditions to start the day, cars didn’t begin taking to the track until 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. local time). There was no group running, which allowed each driver to maximize track time get approved to take part in the Indianapolis 500 Open Test in two weeks.

Team owner Ed Carpenter, who also contests the oval rounds on the IndyCar Series schedule, did a 12-lap shakedown in the No. 20 Chevrolet before handing off to Rasmussen. That group was the first to wrap up their session at the 1.5-mile oval, which happened at 4:45 p.m. ET after logging 134 laps.

“Yeah, it was a smooth day,” Carpenter told Motorsport.com. “We got started right away and he got comfortable.

“We ran through some stuff with him. We were happy with where we we’re at. ‘Rocket’ [Kevin Blanch, IndyCar’s technical director] was happy from what IndyCar, and he likes to see.

“If we were racing here, we probably would’ve ran some more.”

Carpenter, the 2014 winner at TMS, also shared that he could see Rasmussen acclimating fine “without much coaching” and “showed that he was in control” throughout the day.

For Rasmussen, who won both oval races (Iowa, Gateway) – along with three other events – en route to claiming the 2023 Indy NXT title, driving around Texas was something completely unique all its own.

“The ECR guys were super good at teaching me the ropes,” said Rasmussen, who is running a partial schedule that includes the Indianapolis 500 this year.

“It was good to have Ed out in the car feeling everything out before me. My first initial impression was that it is just fast. This is the fastest I’ve gone in a race car ever.

“Doing 220mph is pretty intense, but you get used to it quick. I feel like we just kept working at it and just gained confidence all day, which was the most important part.”

Nolan Siegel, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Unlike his competitors, Siegel did not have the privilege of a veteran to lean on to shake down his No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. Either way, though, it didn’t seem to hinder him much as he was able to close out the day at 5:15 p.m. ET with 146 laps on the board.

“I had no time in the sim to prepare,” said Siegel, who is scheduled to run three more IndyCar races following his debut outing in last weekend’s non-points round at The Thermal Club.

“At Thermal, when we were done with our race, went in, looked at a little bit of data and went out there. It’s something completely different. The closest thing would be Iowa (in an Indy NXT car) and for IndyCar, that’s a short oval.

“And now we’re in Speedway trim doing 220 mph, which is quite different. The first couple laps it was difficult to get used to. You literally feel your face in the helmet like stretch down, like it pulls the skin off of your face. It’s pretty intense, the sustained G-load.

“After I got used to it, I was flat all the way around pretty quick. Once I got used to that it felt a little bit more natural, and we were able to work on the car a little bit and feeling really comfortable.”

Kyffin Simpson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Kyffin Simpson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Penske Entertainment

Simpson was able to lean on Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Alex Palou, who jumped in for seven laps to shake down the No. 4 Honda and hung around until lunch time before needing to fly out.

The early departure of the reigning and two-time IndyCar Series champion didn’t seem to faze Simpson, who concluded the test with 202 laps by 6 p.m. ET.

“It was pretty cool,” Simpson said. “It’s pretty crazy how everything just feels so light and weightless when you’re going like 200 mph, because you come up over the banking and you drop in and it everything feels really light and floaty.

“But it’s really cool because you’re pretty stuck to the ground as well.”

Elements that took time for Simpson to get adjusted to were the tools in the car, specifically the weight-jacker.

“I’ve never used a weight-jacker before obviously, so it was interesting to see how that works and see how powerful it is and all that,” Simpson said.

“It was really cool to see that. And also, just how the tires degrade and fall off. Every track you go to, it’s different.

“I’m sure it’ll be different when we get to Indy. It is still nice to feel the rate of how they drop off.”

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