[excerpt from full article by Mark Robinson indycar.com]
MADISON, Illinois – Jay Howard couldn’t stop smiling. The 36-year-old Brit had just stepped out of the cockpit of an Indy car for the first time in six years, following on oval refresher test at Gateway Motorsports Park.
“I’m a happy camper,” Howard said after turning laps in James Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda on the 1.25-mile oval. Howard will drive a third team car, the No. 77 Team One Cure Honda, in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Howard, the 2006 Indy Lights champion, last drove in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2011. His lone Indy 500 entry came that same year, when he finished 30th for the Schmidt team. Since that time, INDYCAR has introduced the Dallara IR-12 chassis, aero kits and engine competition.
With that in mind, the team prepared a conservative car setup with extra downforce for Howard’s re-introduction to Indy car racing.
“Obviously, things have changed since I last drove,” Howard admitted. “The first couple of runs were just getting used to the speed and just really trying to feel the car. After that, kind of cracked on with our program, so to speak.
“The driving part just came back immediately,” he added. “I’m glad I’ve been training hard because the guys cranked a lot of downforce into it for this test. I could feel the downforce. Yeah, it was a workout.”