British IndyCar rookie Mike Conway was smiling on Friday, as he finally climbed back aboard the #24 Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara-Honda to continue his interrupted preparations for the Indianapolis 500.
The 25-year-old was cleared to drive for the first time since suffering a mild concussion in a high-speed turn one crash during last Sunday's practice sessions on the 2.5-mile oval, and wasted little time in getting back up to speed as he reacclimatised for Saturday's third qualifying round.
Conway clocked 51 laps during the day, with a best speed of 219.234mph, as he played himself back in, and worked closely with his engineers in a bid to improve the handling of his Dallara chassis. Unfortunately, he was denied the opportunity to work with the final settings the team had planned due to track maintenance being required on the famed yard of bricks that mark the start-finish straight, but felt that he had made enough progress on his return to be in good stead for a shot at one of the remaining eleven places in the 33-car field.
"Today was good," Conway reported, "Our first run was just getting back into it again and feeling comfortable with the car. For the second, we went flat around the circuit and made some set-up changes.
"I wasn't really comfortable with the set-up we had, and we were able to make it back out, having made some good changes for tomorrow. I'm ready for qualifying, and I just want to thank the guys for getting the car ready for me. They have done a great job."