With two practices canceled earlier this week and one practice conducted without timing and scoring due to weather, Purdue Grand Prix competitors hit the track with time beginning to show how fleeting it is. Weather continued to be an issue with temperatures topping out only in the mid thirties and leaving the teams wanting more grip from the track surface in the Saturday practice session held on April 9th.
A few fast veterans were not on track during this session, so some new names appeared near the top. Brandon Newey set the pace, but was not at the top of the charts until the very end of the session. The former Pro Mazda driver’s time of 26.954 was the only time south of 27 seconds, ensuring his No. 98 The U Racing machine outpaced its competitors.
Johnson and Ryan Keene battled it out all day with the same time of 27.073s. Though a rookie, Johnson has been near the top of the timesheets all week long in his No. 4 IUPUI Motorsports Club kart. Johnson confirmed previous karting experience to Slipstream Network after practice today, but credited much of the competitive times to his hard-working team. As with all the IUPUI-based teams, Motorsports Club commutes from the Indianapolis-based campus for every Purdue Grand Prix session. Keene’s No. 13 Student Veteran Organization kart matched Johnson’s time, allowing for the two to split second place at the end of the session.
Rookie Jacob Knueven continued his strong pace with a time of 27.131 in his No. 03 Car Racing entry, followed closely by teammate, Eli Salamie. Salamie drove to a time of 27.153 in his No. 30 entry, ensuring two Cary Racing karts in the top 5.
With less than 0.2s separating the entire top five, the depth of talent for the 59th running of the Purdue Grand Prix is becoming apparent. Even with the adverse weather conditions leaving the track surface less than welcoming, competitors are finding speed at a very competitive pace. The entire top 10 competitors put in laps within 1.094s of the leader.
Zachary Juliot was timed in sixth place in the No. 34 NROTC entry followed by T.J. Higgin’s No. 77 Fairway Cooperative machine. Rounding out the top ten was Chip Challis in the No. 22 Pi Kappa Phi Racing kart (who led the session for most of the day), Charles Meredith in the Sigma Chi No. 99, and Allison Schoch in the No. 16 IUPUI SWE entry, the all-women’s team for the rival university.
With the Saturday session being the longest practice session for Purdue Grand Prix competitors, many teams elected to conduct long-run testing to see how their karts would change over long distance. Jillian Goodwood ran the most laps in the No. 82 Darlington Motorsports kart; a total of 144. Many other teams ran over 100 laps before the session ended.[Results will be added when they become available.]
Purdue Grand Prix competitors received their randomly drawn qualifying order shortly after the session ended on Saturday. Practice will resume Tuesday, April 12 at 5:00 PM ET. Slipstream Network will continue to feature coverage of the Purdue Grand Prix at SlipstreamNetwork.com/purduegp.
*** The featured image above has very little to do with this story apart from being a picture of students in last year’s Purdue Grand Prix.