Photo: Chris Jones/INDYCAR

Leist Leads Rookie Testing in Phoenix

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

AVONDALE, Arizona — Matheus Leist led Verizon IndyCar Series rookies during testing on Thursday at ISM Raceway.

The 19-year-old Brazilian put the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing on top of the timesheets with a speed of 184.236 mph (19.9700 seconds) around the 1.022-mile oval.

A rookie in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the top rung of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder, Leist came away pleased with his first trial with an Indy car on an oval.

“Not at all,” said Leist, winner of the 2017 Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, of any surprises on track.

“The car was pretty good and pretty smooth. I think the culmination was nice. The car is brand new and feeling good. I didn’t have any big understeer or oversteer, which is good. So it was a very good day for me and the team.”

Pietro Fittipaldi was a close second, running at 183.347 mph (20.0669 seconds – 0.0969 seconds behind Leist) in the No. 19 Paysafe Honda for Dale Coyne Racing. Of the 617 total laps logged throughout the session, 121 were amassed by the 2017 World Series Renault Formula V8 3.5 champion.

Having not previously raced at ISM Raceway and having minimal oval experience during his IndyCar tenure, Spencer Pigot logged 105 laps, setting his best on Lap 88 with a pace of 180.589 mph (20.3733 seconds) in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing.

The full results from the session can be seen here: INDYCAR Rookie Testing Results at ISM Raceway

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.