Top rookie Conway happy with debut

Mike Conway felt he learned a great deal during his first oval test, having emerged from the IndyCar Series' open test at Homestead this week as the fastest rookie

Top rookie Conway happy with debut

The former GP2 driver, who has joined Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for 2009, was eighth quickest last night, and said he already felt he was getting to grips with the IndyCar Dallara-Honda.

"It's all about learning each time I go out - learning about running with traffic, how the tyres come in, just things with set-up like aero changes, mechanical changes," Conway said.

"They all feel quite different. I've really got a feel as to what the car is doing and how it's reacting to each change. I've been learning how to run in different lines and how to react in traffic.

"Each day was another positive step. I have to thank the Dreyer & Reinbold guys for the hard work and great job they've done in getting me acclimatised to everything. I can't wait to get back on the track again."

Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Robert Doornbos had been the top rookie on Tuesday, but slumped to 17th yesterday evening after an errant set-up change.

"We made a change overnight that was quite radical," he said. "The boys needed a couple of hours to do it and already from the third lap onwards we felt it was not the right direction as the car was a lot faster last night.

"You can't go back on it because you lose today completely so we did what we could in practice and started running in traffic and with high fuel loads and made lots and lots of changes on the car.

"I think at one stage we had to calm ourselves down because we were trying too much. It looks like we have a lot of work to do as a team."

Of the four newcomers in the current field, reigning Indy Lights champion Raphael Matos has the most experience of single-seater oval racing, but was only 11th on day one and 18th last night for Luczo Dragon Racing.

"It was a tough day, but we learned a lot," said the Brazilian. "We sat down last night and made changes to the car but the changes didn't work.

"The good thing is we know what we need in the car and we know what we need to do to make it faster. We just need to regroup.

"This is the most competitive place with all the top drivers. We didn't expect to come in and beat everyone in the first test. We're a young team, and I'm a rookie. I think we worked really well together and we are all committed to improving."

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