Toronto: Late lap puts Hunter-Reay on top
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving with his left hand still in pain from his injury in the Indy 500, turned the fastest lap of the 2nd practice for the Honda Toronto IndyCar race Friday afternoon and he waited until his final lap of the session to do it.
Another former Champ Car driver, Justin Wilson was 2nd quick ahead of Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power.
Raphael Matos rounded the top-5.
In a session that saw 1 second cover the top 13 drivers, Hunter-Reay was able to eke out a small 0.04s margin over Wilson. However, Wilson sat out the final 15 minutes of the session because he broke the transmission when he spun in turn 1 but kept the car off the walls and kept right on going.
"It's always good to come back to Toronto," said Wilson. It's a track I really like and always fun to drive on. We already know one area we can change on the car to go faster tomorrow," said Wilson.
"The hand hurts more than I thought it would," said Hunter-Reay. "Every time I have to catch the car when it tries to step out over one of the bumps I really feel it. The doctors want me to wear a splint but you really cannot on a road or street circuit."
RYAN HUNTER REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): "It was a good day and it's good to be back in Toronto. I love this place and it is great to see the fans turn out here in Toronto on Friday. The last street course we were on was Long Beach and the car was good. This is our first street course since then and our car is still good. Tomorrow is a new day. Most teams took new tires at the end of that session and so did we. We will see where we stack up, but I think we will definitely be top five tomorrow. I am pleased with how we started our weekend."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/DRR): "It's always good to come back to Toronto. It's a track that I really like and always have fun driving on. It's obviously not the smoothest track we drive on but I think that adds character to the course. I want to thank everyone on the Dreyer and Reinbold Team who worked on the Z-Line Designs car; they gave me a good car today. It works really well and feels really good, but obviously we have plenty of room to improve. We have one area that we need to change, but hopefully after making those improvements tonight we'll be able to go a little faster tomorrow."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): "We've had a reasonably good day. We had a few issues with the throttle sticking and that compromised the balance of the car a little bit, but it all worked out. The car was quite competitive and we know the track will continue to improve from a grip standpoint for qualifying tomorrow. We are just going to keep pushing and hopefully make the right changes for tomorrow."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy):"We struggled pretty badly in practice today. We went our own way set-up wise rather than using a similar set-up as my teammates. It didn't go as we had hoped, but the up side is that now we know exactly what we need to do. We'll make some changes and hopefully have the Venom car headed in the right direction tomorrow morning."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "It was good work by Team Penske today. It's great to be back in Toronto and racing in front of these fans. We changed some things on the car from last year and it responded much better. We had two good practices but tomorrow is the real deal. We'll keep working hard and see what happens tomorrow in qualifying."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "It was a pretty good day. The Team Penske car is very close on balance and we're almost there. Today was really about managing our tires. I would have liked to run more laps, but we were saving our tires for qualifying and the race. Overall, we're pretty happy with the car and I'm looking forward to running with new tires tomorrow."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "It is tough out there. The competition is so tight. No one really has a big advantage here. You have to be up on the wheel and really drive the car hard. The Verizon car is pretty good right now, although we do have a bit of work to do in order to get it right where it needs to be for qualifying."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 NHR/Quick Trim): "It's nice to be back in an Indy car. It was a bit of a struggle this afternoon. We can't seem to figure out what it is the car wants and I'm a little bit lost to be honest. I don't really know too much of what we're looking for. But this is similar to our Friday here last year and we qualified third, so hopefully it will play out that way again this year. But it is nice to be back in the car. Every time I get back in car it feels so good, especially here in Toronto, a place I really do enjoy. I'm looking forward to tomorrow; I think we have a lot to gain. I'm hoping to put the Quick Trim car up front in qualifying."
HIDEKI MUTOH ( No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic): "The track is very slippery which is the same as last year. I think we made good progress today. Each session, I went fastest and I understand the reason why I went faster which helps us know the direction to continue in. Now I have a teammate in Graham and fresh data to compare to which is helpful. Our position doesn't look too good but I think we have potential. Today is only the first day and I have one more practice session before qualifying so I think we will be ready. I lost the backend of the car in Turn 1 and couldn't stop before hitting the wall. I'm sorry to create extra work for the guys."
PAUL TRACY (No. 15 Make A Wish - KV Racing Technology): "We started out pretty well this morning, but we had a little issue with the car in the afternoon. We really only got about five laps of running. We got the car back out to the pits with about two minutes to go, but we weren't going to get the tires up to temperature in that amount of time, so we didn't run. Right now, we'll baseline off of E.J.'s car in the morning. Our cars were pretty similar to begin with and he ended up in the top seven today. He thinks the changes they made were quite good. That puts us up an extra set of tires on the rest of the field for Saturday. We'll be ready to go in the morning."
E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology): "I am happy as we have been making progress with the car each session. This is definitely a very tough place to race. It is a very unstable and bumpy track. You need a good car here, but you need to drive the track very precisely. There is a lot of direction change on this circuit. I have been working very closely with Bill (Pappas, engineer) and we have been improving the car with every run. The track was very slippery in the early portion of that session with the other cars running ahead of us. But in the last half of the session, the track felt like it was getting better and gaining more grip. We are looking for a good run on Saturday."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing): "I think today went pretty good. I had a bunch to learn since it was my first time here and we made more good changes than bad so I think we're on the right road. The car was good here last year and it's good again this year but we have to tweak it for the tires which are a little bit different from last year. We're trying a few more things in the practice session before qualifying tomorrow. In the afternoon session today, I only got one clear lap and it wasn't my best lap. Traffic was definitely an issue this afternoon so I don't think our placing is a true indicator of where we are with the car."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven/Nestle Pure Life): "The day was OK for Team 7-Eleven. Me and Ryan worked really well together today. We had the same strategy today, but tried a couple different options to see what was going to work. Obviously, his is working pretty well, so that makes me feel good. We'll keep working tomorrow morning and see what happens."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): "We made a few changes from the first practice session to the second and we were able to find some speed. I think the changes that we made gave us a much better idea on where we need to go for tomorrow. Overall I'm happy with today's practice sessions and hope we have a strong qualifying run tomorrow for the GoDaddy car. "
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "Overall it has been a good first day. I am pleased to be back here in Toronto, I really enjoy the track. We unfortunately didn't find the right balance, but we will work on some things overnight and hopefully have a better day tomorrow."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus - KV Racing Technology): ""It was a tough day. The circuit is extremely bumpy and slippery, especially on the concrete patches which made it very difficult to predict the setup of the car. Today was all about learning this unique track as quickly as possible. Tonight we will go over the data and hopefully improve the car for qualifying tomorrow."
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