Graham Rahal staked his claim for a ChampCar World Series race drive with defending champions Newman/Haas Racing after ducking under the unofficial lap record at MSR Raceway in Texas.
The 17-year-old American, who finished second in this year’s ChampCar Atlantic Series lapped the Texan track in 1:10.370 almost a second quicker than the previous mark set by Antonio Pizzonia last year.
Rahal's father Bobby, who won ChampCar titles in 1986, 1987 and 1992, was pleased with his progress since he made his test debut at Homestead in September.
"I just spoke with him on the phone and he's happy with his progress," said Rahal Sr.
"He seems to be picking things up nicely and he also had a good test at Homestead."
Rahal is tipped to join Newman/Haas alongside drivers' champion Sebastien Bourdais next season, either place of, or in addition to current number two Bruno Junqueira.
Newman/Haas were not the only team to run at the track though, as PKV Racing were also in action – giving a test run to Swiss driver Neel Jani.
Jani, who has spent this season as test driver for the Toro Rosso Formula One team, celebrated his 23rd birthday by lapping just over a second slower than Rahal on what was his first time in a ChampCar.
PKV are set to sign a big-money deal with energy drinks manufacturers Red Bull – a move that would virtually guarantee a race drive for Jani in 2007.