Indy Lights Friday news from Long Beach In Firestone Indy Lights practice, Sebastian Saavedra, driving the No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport car, topped the time chart for the Grand Prix of Long Beach at 1:15.1732.
James Hinchcliffe in the No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling entry was second (1:15.4583), and Martin Plowman was third in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers/KEP Printing car for AFS Racing Andretti Autosport.
Charlie Kimball, who posted a career-best second on the Barber Motorsports Park road course, was fourth quick (1:15.8785) in the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen car for AFS Racing Andretti Autsport. J.K. Vernay, who has won the first two races of the season, was fifth on the chart (1:15.9426) in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.
The top two drivers in today Indy Lights practice talked about the track at this year’s Grand Prix of Long Beach.
AR1: How is the track this year? James Hinchcliffe: "The track has some good grip this year, I think because the IndyCar guys got out there before us. So the grip is good, but it is bumpier than last year, especially in the braking zones for turn 1 which has kind of a washboard thing going on. Turns 8 and 9 have some isolated bumps too that I don't really recall noticing last year.
Sebastian Saavedra: "Yeah, the track is a little bumpier than last year, but the braking points seem about the same, and the grip is good. We saw a lot of guys locking brakes over the bumps in the braking zones too. There are some good passing spots for these cars at this track. Turn one is always good, and 9 is obvious too, but if you are on top of things 6 and 8 can be good spots to catch people off guard."
AR1: Who do think will be tough competition this weekend? JH: Well Sebastian here is always tough, and he raced here last year so I expect to see him up front, along with Vernay and Plowman. Those guys are tough and running really well right now.
SS: Vernay is going to be up there for sure, and we really need to get him off the podium here and keep things interesting. The Andretti team will be tough here in general, and I know because I drove for them last year. I know their process and they know this track really well.
Sebastian also hinted that he has an announcement to make about some upcoming plans that we have agreed not to talk about, but are not hard to predict, given the team and sponsor he is currently with. He also has Roberto Guerrero for a mentor.
Sebastian Saavedra Bryan Herta Autosport
James Hinchcliffe Team Moore Racing
Martin Plowman AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport
Charlie Kimball AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport
J.K. Vernay Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Junior Strous HVM Racing
Pippa Mann Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Gustavo Yacaman Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing
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