Dempsey tops Indy Lights practice
Peter Dempsey was the quickest of 15 Firestone Indy Lights drivers at Barber Motorsports Park in practice for the 40-lap race April 10 with a best lap of 1 minute, 18.8609 seconds in the No. 36 Pulse/02 Racing car.
PETER DEMPSEY (No. 36 Pulse/O2 Racing Technology): "Practice today went really well. The track has changed a lot since testing here in March. This made practice a lot trickier than everyone was expecting. For some reason we were running about three seconds slower on our pace than we did at the open test earlier in the year. Unfortunately, I locked up a tire and we had no other choice but to put on a new set of tires at the end of the session. We put on the new tires and I was hoping that would make us quick. I posted the fastest lap of the day just slightly faster than Anders Krohn. I think the wet session is going to help us this afternoon since it won't give anyone more track time. This allows us more time to work on the car and get ready for qualifying and hopefully put it on the front row again. This is the first time I have been at the top of the time sheet after practice, so I am proud to give the 02 Racing Technology team a top speed. We have a good car going in the Pulse / 02 Racing entry and we will work hard overnight to make some adjustments and get ready for tomorrow. It feels like the car is right where I want it so I just need to pull it all together in qualifying and hope that is enough to earn the pole position."
ANDERS KROHN (No. 9 Liberty Engineering Racing Special, second-fastest): "Practice today was very valuable for us as we weren't able to be here during the open test. We didn't have the opportunity to learn as much about the track as the other drivers did at the open test, but hopefully now we are catching back up. I think we made a step in the right direction during the second practice session. The times will tell for qualifying as there is not a lot of track time available for us to practice here. I am hoping we can get up to speed and stick it in the top five tomorrow. We will be spending some time making adjustments to the car and our strategy. Overall today was a good day for the Belardi Auto Racing team."
CONOR DALY (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, third-fastest): "The (SSM) cars are all good. It was a lot more encouraging for me today than the test. I was a bit worried after the test about coming back here. But immediately, the car was good. It was strange track conditions today. I am confident for tomorrow, though. We might make a few more small changes for qualifying in the morning. There were a few wet spots When we finally went out, and you knew the fastest car would be the last one to take the checkered flag because it was getting dryer every lap. But, we're not worried about that."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 11 Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fourth-fastest): "If there was a place where this was going to happen (rain), this was a good place for it to happen because we had pre-season testing here and we have some knowledge to go off of. So, it really didn't mess up our program today. As far as our checklist goes in what we wanted to accomplish in both sessions, I don't think we got everything done but we certainly got through the key things we needed to do. I was really surprised how well the track felt this afternoon. Though I only did two laps, it felt great. It felt better than it did in the first session."
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fifth-fastest):"It was a surprise how different the track felt this afternoon compared to the earlier session. We knew it was going to be very slippery for the first session because on the track walk yesterday we could see all the loose rubber on the tarmac from the touring cars. We had trouble with the set-up this morning. But in just two laps this afternoon, the car felt real good and we are eager to see what happens tomorrow."
VICTOR CARBONE (No. 3 Neuvoni/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I think we are looking good for tomorrow. I am pretty comfortable and confident. It was a pretty tough day today, but tomorrow is going to be good."