Briscoe and Power top IndyCar Friday at Long Beach
Briscoe, Power and third place Ryan Hunter-Reay were the only drivers to dip into the 1m10s bracket with the three separated by just 0.2581s. Both Power and Briscoe turned their fastest lap on their final lap of the session whereas Hunter-Reay was on top of most of the session.
Scott Dixon and Alex Tagliani rounded out the top-5. The top-14 drivers were separated by just 1 second.
Briscoe recorded the top time of the day – 1:10.740 – around the 1.9-mile, 11-turn street course in the No. 6 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda. Team Penske’s Will Power owned the second-fastest lap, while Helio Castroneves checked in with the sixth-fastest time on Friday during IZOD IndyCar Series practice.
“It’s great to end the day on top,” said Briscoe, who was fifth in the morning practice session after an early spin on course. “We made some good changes over lunch time. We got that spin out of the way this morning. We changed the wing and were able to get the fast one on there now.”
After suffering disappointing finishes in the first two races of the season due to contact, Briscoe has stayed positive with a fast car and productive practice and qualifying sessions. The native of Sydney, Australia said it could be another incident-filled race with the new double-file restarts on the tight street circuit, putting even more emphasis on qualifying up front.
“It’s going to be really hairy in Turn 1 on every start and restart on Sunday,” said Briscoe. “Certainly, the big goal is to start at the front and it’s going to help a lot. From the third, fourth row back it’s going to be such a big bottleneck, and there’s going to be some impatient guys out there. We’re certainly working hard at getting some speed out of the Penske Truck Rental car today.”
Power, coming off his first win of the season last weekend in Alabama, had the fastest lap in the morning session before clocking the second-quickest time overall with a late run in the second practice. His effort of 1:10.898 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda just missed knocking Briscoe from the top spot on the timing charts.
“It is very competitive around this track,” said Power, the current series points leader who will be looking for his third consecutive pole position at Long Beach on Saturday. “You can see how close the times are together. We were running on new tires and it turned into a really good session for us. We will make a few changes for tomorrow and see if we can get another pole.”
Briscoe, being the fastest driver on Friday said he will choose the second group of qualifying meaning the odd number drivers today will be in group 2 and the even number of drivers in group one. Regardless the fastest six will advance and you only have to beat those in your group.
Hunter-Reay won the 2010 race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course from the front row – his second IZOD IndyCar Series victory – which set the table for him to complete the season with primary sponsorship from IZOD.
“It was pivotal for us to get the rest of the season locked up,” said Hunter-Reay, a former Dana Point, Calif., resident who this week was named a LIVESTRONG Global Envoy. “It’s never in black and white that if you win you’re going to get more races and more support. We knew we had to get something done. Coming off of Brazil with a second and winning here certainly got everything set in the right motion and set certain events into place where we could lock up the rest of the season.
“On the other side of it, it was great getting a win for IZOD and Andretti Autosport with Michael as sole owner was important to me personally.”
"Ryan was so impressive with everything he did for us in 2010 that it became a high priority for us to secure him for two more years," said Andretti, who won his first and final Indy car races on the Long Beach circuit. "He was everything we hoped he'd be in the car and he is a great representative for our team. Long Beach was great, but it was more a function of what he did throughout the entire season."
“Long Beach is coming at the right time,” he said. “It is definitely one of our strong suits and hopefully we can put that to use here, qualify up front and stay out of trouble. The double-file restarts are going to be pretty interesting, so it will be key to qualify up front. We just need the points and get our season started this weekend.
“The DHL/Sun Drop team certainly deserves it. We've had great race cars; we were running the in the top five in both races this year, so it's not like we've been out of the hunt. We've been in it; we just haven't been able to bring it home."
The IZOD IndyCar Series field will practice again Saturday at 1:25 p.m. ET before qualifying begins at 5:25 p.m. ET Live coverage of Sunday’s race begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on Versus.
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Penske Truck Rental, fastest of the day): "It's going to be really hairy in Turn 1 on every start and restart on Sunday. Certainly, the big goal is to start at the front and it's going to help a lot. From the third, fourth row back it's going to be such a big bottleneck, and there's going to be some impatient guys out there. We're certainly working hard at getting some speed out of the Penske Truck rental car today. (Street courses seem to suit your style): "Yeah, California certainly feels like Australia and you have that beautiful Pacific air. I love this track. It's a great event and I'm glad we come here. It's part of Indy car tradition and Team Penske has a great history here. I haven't won here and this is certainly one I want to win at." (About incident this morning): "It's great to end the day on top. We made some good changes over lunch time. We got that spin out of the way this morning. We changed the wing and were able to get fast one on there now."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, second-fastest): "It is very competitive around this track. You can see how close the times are together. We were running on new tires and it turned into a really good session for us. We will make a few changes for tomorrow and see if we can get another pole."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 34 Conquest Racing): "I think the day went well. We had a good improvement from the first session to the second, so I'm very happy how that went. We found speed that we were needing. We're showing what we're capable of, now we have to try to maintain consistency with no mistakes and we'll be good for the weekend."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "We're getting the Venom car to where it needs to be. I have to thank Ryan (Hunter-Reay) for his set-up, it got us closer and now we're in it. We're hoping to have a strong run for qualifying tomorrow and start near the front."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "We just can't seem to get it right since we unloaded in Long Beach. The Service Central team is going to go back and reset a little bit tonight. This morning we weren't that bad, but we didn't gain any time between the first and second practice and everyone else really did. We just have to work on making the No. 38 Service Central Honda consistent and driveable. We have some work do before qualifying tomorrow."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen): "Today was really good for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. We learned a lot and ran good laps - ran a lot of laps. The Novo Nordisk team make big improvements this afternoon and have a really good direction for tomorrow. We're saving tires and will be in good shape for qualifying. The team has done a fantastic job."
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "We had a good and productive day. We had the opportunity to test a lot of different things on the car and we found a good baseline for tomorrow's practice and hopefully we'll have a strong qualifying session."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "We tried many things today and we made reasonably good progress, however the field is again very competitive. We really need to work hard on improving the speed of the car. I think all three drivers collected valuable data today that we will go through tonight."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus): "Today was day where we did a lot of work as a team. We divided the work load between the three cars. Now we have to sit down and put the best scenarios together. During the last part of the session we made some changes to my car that I think were good, but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to do back-to-back runs on my second set of new tires because of the yellow flags. We are heading in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do to improve the car.
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske): "We improved our Automobile Club of Southern California car between the first and second practice sessions today. We will be sure to take advantage of what my teammates are learning about the track and then apply it to my car for tomorrow. We have some work to do, but we will continue to improve and look forward to a better result tomorrow."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing): "Practice was good, we started a little bit behind but we have to try things and to do that there is a certain amount of risk. Tried something this morning that didn't work and we came back to what we knew worked in St. Pete and got back to where we thought we had to be. It was a good day. I don't know how good yet because some people did new tires and some didn't. I think any time you are within striking distance of P-1 and P-2, it's very reasonable. I like it. We made right decisions all day long and that's what counts."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "The Bowers & Wilkins team did a fantastic job. I think the car is good and we are very competitive. We did our good lap on old tires. We are definitely pleased with that. There is definitely more in this car tomorrow with new tires. Ending the session the way we did is good."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "I'm actually surprised we were 10th fast. It was one of those days that I was not feeling like myself on track. We knew we had something with the setup we wanted to change but we not able to before the second session so we know we will be better tomorrow from that aspect. Through the session I had to work on myself; I was getting frustrated with everything and there was no reason. I am in beautiful California, the Telemundo car wasn't bad and I am driving for a great team but it was one of those days that things didn't seem to run as fluid as usual for the whole team. Hopefully we have all of that out of the way now and things will be good tomorrow for the Telemundo team."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "Today was like a baptism by fire; pun intended! In the first session we went out and did a couple of runs bedding brakes then when we started running I noticed a weird smell coming out of the car and very quickly realized we were on fire. It was not a great thing to happen. By the time I got the Sprott car slowed down and got it to a fire station there had been significant damage to the car. I only got about four hot laps in this morning. The guys did an incredible job getting the backup car out so I would like to give a huge thanks to them for getting us back out there. We got back out to try to get some work done and ran into a couple of little problems which isn't totally unexpected when you are pulling a car out of the trailer that hasn't run in a while. We had to fight a couple of little issues and we were up against it on time. We lost a lot of track time today which isn't great but luckily it's a track I know. I'm confident we can take some things from what Oriol learned in the session. Tomorrow is a new day."
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