Mikael Grenier stood next to his No. 22 Team Moore Racing car at Homestead-Miami Speedway and twisted his head from side-to-side.
“My neck,” he said, “It’s really sore. It’s been a while.”
Grenier turned 158 laps over two days, his first time in a car since last October at the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Of nine total drivers who tested at Homestead, he posted the third-fastest time of the two-day Open Test at 1 minute, 15.3141 seconds, nearly a second faster than when Firestone Indy Lights last tested at the track in 2007. Grenier’s last race was in 2011 with Team Moore Racing at Trois-Rivieres.
The 20-year-old from Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, Quebec is a former Star Mazda Championship driver who finished eighth in the series in 2010.
In 2011 he competed in Firestone Indy Lights with O2 Racing for four events before leaving the team. Stiff necks aside, he’s eager to land a full-time ride by the time the season opens in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 23. His outing at the series’ first Open Test of the season spoke for itself.
“I think my pace wasn’t great yesterday, I haven’t driven in a long time so it took me a while,” Grenier said. “I think our last run was good, it could have been better driving-wise, there’s still some time to gain on my driving, but in the end we’re still early in the year. The goal is to improve.”
Andretti Autosport seemed to have the top two spots reserved for them over both days, with Carlos Munoz and Zach Veach improving their lap times from yesterday to again finish fastest. Munoz recorded at 1:14.5277, well below the 1:16.1559 from 2007. Veach finished second and ended his day a few minutes early after a mechanical issue led to a small leak.
Reigning team champion Schmidt Peterson Motorsports completed just its second test with 2012 Star Mazda champion Jack Hawksworth and finished fourth-fastest, but by the end of the day, Hawksworth hadn’t even eyed the speed charts.
“This test was more of an exercise to learn everyone’s name and build the relationships,” the 21-year-old Englishman said. “We learned a lot of stuff over the two days, so overall it was a pretty good couple of days.”
Belardi’s Peter Dempsey was fifth quickest, and the next fastest lap was the time set by Gabby Chaves in afternoon session om Jan. 23. Also notable was Juan Pablo Garcia, who retired early due to a mechanical issue but had improved to third fastest in the morning session.