Hunter-Reay tops IndyCar times Friday in Long Beach
He may be new to the Andretti Motorsports team but already he is assimilating in well. Ryan Hunter Reay tuned the fastest lap in his IZOD Dallara-Honda in Indy Car practice Friday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race around the 1.98-mile street circuit overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
"In the first session, we knew the track was pretty bad, so we didn't get out of our mindset of sticking to our guns," said Hunter-Reay.
"We knew what worked. In the second session, we just worked on the balance of the car. We found what did work and what didn't work. I think there's still a little more time in the car, so we're pretty happy with it. It's going to get quicker tomorrow, and these guys are all going to go quicker. So we'll have to keep changing, keep on top of the developing racetrack. It's good, though. The guys did a good job. The good thing is we only used two sets of tires today."
Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe (1:10.6980) was second, and Tony Kanaan finished third (1:10.7334).
Alex Tagliani (1:10.7996) and Will Power (1:10.8641) rounded out the top-5.
Defending race winner and IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti was seventh at 1:10.9285.
Just one second separated the top 15 cars as drivers and tomorrow will probably be even closer.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD, first): In the first session, we knew the track was pretty bad, so we didn't get out of our mindset of sticking to our guns. We knew what worked. In the second session, we just worked on the balance of the car. We found what did work and what didn't work. I think there's still a little more time in the car, so we're pretty happy with it. It's going to get quicker tomorrow, and these guys are all going to go quicker. So we'll have to keep changing, keep on top of the developing racetrack. It's good, though. The guys did a good job. The good thing is we only used two sets of tires today."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, second): (About closing the gap to teammate Will Power): "It's the first step toward beating him. He's doing an amazing job. He's definitely going to be the one to beat in qualifying tomorrow. He's been fast here in the past. I think as a team, we're extremely strong at the moment. We're really pushing each other a lot. There's a really good vibe within. And I really feel like coming into this part of the season, I really need to step it up in qualifying. For sure, to get the race wins, my first step is going to be stepping it up in qualifying."
WILL POWER (No.12 Verizon Team Penske, fifth): "We are reasonably happy with the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. We need to find a bit more speed. It is really close out there, really competitive. We will work on it tonight, and we should be in great shape tomorrow for qualifying."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, ninth): "We are learning a lot of good information for qualifying and the race. The No. 3 car has been solid, and we will continue working on it tonight. It has been a beautiful day here in Long Beach, and it is great to see all the fans out at the track."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, 14th): "We made a lot of progress in the morning session; we found two things that improved the Formula Dream/Panasonic car. Then we made a change between sessions, and it changed the balance of the car, so we need to work to get the balance right. We saved a set of tires for tomorrow while many drivers put a new set of tires on during the afternoon session, so I don't mind being 14th in the session. Overall, it was a good day."
RAFAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP Luczo Dragon, 11th): We had an encouraging start. We have quite a good baseline from last year. I had a lot of traffic on my new tire run, so I was unable to extract everything out of the car that I wanted. But we're heading in the right direction, and the car is much closer than last week. "
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology, eighth): "Overall, it was a good day for the No. 32 KV Racing Technology team. My engineer, Iain Watt, and I have been spending a lot of time together getting to know each other, and we have worked very hard to make the car faster. It is great to be back in Long Beach. Unfortunately, last year we did not have the result that we wanted, so I am looking forward to this weekend and having a good finish."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing, 19th): "I think it's again been another frustrating day for me. I really thought that we would start off on a better foot and be a little more competitive than we are. We seem to be really struggling. I thought we were getting closer there halfway through that last session and we put new tires on, but the grip just wasn't there like it is for everyone else. It's a little bit confusing and a little bit frustrating, but I know everyone is working hard and we're going to keep at it."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, fourth): "I am very, very happy. The LaCapsule Sportive/Adonis Products/Honda Indy Edmonton team did a fantastic job today. Obviously finishing the first day in position four is a great achievement for us. We kind of knew that Long Beach was going to be a more suitable track for our car. We are still in the learning process, and I think today we learned a lot and made very good changes to the car. We recovered well from our incident this morning, and the guys did a fantastic job of getting the car ready to go for the last practice. The car is very close, but we're still trying to get a little bit more out of the car and the track continues to grip up. There's been like a second of improvement from this morning's times to this afternoon. I feel that the team is where it needs to be and with this particular track and what is happening and how competitive we are the team is right where it needs to be. We are still learning more information, and now we are gathering a good group of data from the most recent tracks, so we are starting to come full circle on our information. If we can build on the information, I think we'll continue to be more consistent and have the car where we want it which is quick out of the box."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology, 13th): "Long Beach is a special event, but, for me, it is one of the new circuits. So I have to learn the circuit. We struggled with the balance of the car a bit today. So we have a lot of work to do tomorrow."
E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KVRT, 17th): "The changes we made from practice one to practice two, we didn't find all of the speed we wanted. But we had problems with traffic with our second set of tires, so we weren't able to put a lap together. Normally, with your second set of tires, you can improve up to a second a lap. That was a progression I think we were going to achieve. But because of the traffic, we couldn't. We still need to improve the car and find more speed for qualifying."
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