Bell Leads Indy Rookies

Townsend Bell passed all stages of his rookie test Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the final day of the Rookie Orientation Program, and then celebrated by turning the fastest lap of the month to date.

Bell ran a lap of 221.381 mph in the No. 90 Rock & Republic Vision Racing Honda Dallara to lead eight drivers on the famed 2.5-mile oval preparing for the May 28 90th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Sunday, Bell experienced a broken fuel pump and only ran two laps, with a best speed of 113.066 mph.

Also passing their rookie tests on Monday were Arie Luyendyk Jr. (214.562 mph) and Thiago Medeiros (214.690 mph).

Michael Andretti, set for his first race since the 2003 Indy 500, quickly got up to speed and bettered his fast time from Sunday with a lap of 221.324 mph early in the session. That time stood up for most of the day before Bell set his lap late in the afternoon.

Other rookies practicing were Marco Andretti (221.267 mph) and P.J. Chesson (219.745 mph), who both passed their tests on Sunday. Andretti ran his fastest lap in his father’s No. 1 Vonage Honda late in the afternoon, after running 42 laps with a top speed of 220.709 mph in the No. 26 NYSE Honda.

Veterans running refresher sessions in addition to Michael Andretti were two-time winner Al Unser Jr. (218.820mph) and Larry Foyt (215.388 mph). Another veteran, 1998 winner Eddie Cheever, is expected to practice Tuesday after competing in a Grand American Rolex Series race over the weekend.

Open practice for the IRL IndyCar Series competitors begins Tuesday, with noon-5 p.m. sessions continuing through Friday in preparation for Saturday’s opening qualifying.

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