IndyCar Mid-Ohio: Power tops opening practiceUPDATE
Team Penske's Will Power set the pace as IZOD IndyCar Series teams began preparations for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Power, who is third in the championship standings entering Round 12, had a quick lap of 1 minute, 6.8632 seconds - which was just off the IZOD IndyCar Series lap time record on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Scott Dixon, who has won three of the past five races at Mid-Ohio in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, was second quick (1:07.0213) and Marco Andretti was third (1:07.0644) in the No. 26 Team RC Cola car. Simon Pagenaud was fourth (1:07.1063) in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car, and Graham Rahal finished fifth (1:07.1088) in the No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car.
James Jakes, was sixth quick in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America entry and rookie Josef Newgarden was seventh in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car. The top 20 cars were separated by less than a second.
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "This new DW12 Indy car feels great here - lot's more power and more downforce - you can really get after a lap. We're bloody determined to get the pole here tomorrow. I think the entire Verizon 12 Chevy Team is very happy with today and the results. The weather is going to change a lot over the next day or so. It was good to get a fast clean lap and get confidence going into tomorrow. For the rest of the year we need to win poles and win races if we are going to win the Championship, it's pretty simple. We need to run well and fast to make up ground in the points race."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "It was OK. It is hard when you only run half a session and other people get two sets of tires. It is kind of hard to monitor how you're doing. I mean there was lots of cautions and traffic with 25 cars out there, so it's hard to get a clear lap. It was OK. We definitely have time in the car towards the end. We will come back tomorrow, we got some good changes we can make I think and get some time off of it. Fingers crossed that tomorrow goes that much better." (What part of the track do you like most?): "I think Turn 1 is going to be really fun this weekend from a drivers stand point because once you get reds in qualifications I think it will be almost flat. In the old car you never had that sort of thing. This track is all about flow. Every corn is very tricky. When you come back you've been not here and there is no rubber on the track it is very greasy. It has a funny sealant to it that makes you work extra hard to try to find that little bit of speed to get out of it. "
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "We had a bit of a brake issue for two-thirds of the session today. So I really didn't get to work on the car setup too much. But we finally got it resolved towards the end of the session, and we were then able to adjust a few things on the car. At least we were able to improve the car from the test last week. So I think we are moving in the right direction. The track is much different the day of the test. It's much hotter and we have rubber from the ALMS cars on the track surface. I think the track was better last week after the AMA bike rubber was on the surface. But the biggest issue for us today were the brakes. Now we can work on getting the car better for Saturday."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HMV Racing Lotus): "It was an OK session. We didn't really test here when it was grippy, so we're just taking it step by step. I think we have improved quite a bit. We're going to find some more for tomorrow and we'll see. It was a good session."
GIORGIO PANTANO (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPenHonda): "I have a good feeling about today. The NovoLog FlexPen car is definitely good and it was great to be out there. I think in tomorrow's practice session I'll be able to put myself more in the front of the field than today."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "It was a good day for us. I'm proud of the guys and they're working really hard. The ultimate goal is to come here and to win, so we're off to a good start. We've got a really good car and I'm not sure we got a hundred percent out of it yet. Certainly, we're really happy with the NTB/Service Central car and we'll just keep working away."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "I feel like we had a pretty good session. We got held up in some traffic there at the end, and I think we had a few extra tenths in the car. After the test last week, we came here with a couple of things in particular that we wanted to try today, and we did. We felt like we knocked off some of the big things we were trying to accomplish. At this track, with a tight as it is, getting the finer details sorted out is going to be where a lot of the lap time is going to come from. I think Oriol (Servia) and I are really close in terms of what we're able to do with the cars right now, and I feel pretty confident that we can continue to figure things out and that we'll have a good car for qualifying tomorrow."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): "The track is a little less grippy than it was at the test last week, and unloading with a car as it was at the test - I think we struggled a little bit but I'm not really too worried about it. I had a small spin early on, just me being silly. We only tested a couple things because we know the baseline car is pretty good based on what we saw at the test last week, so I think as the weekend goes on and the track rubbers up it will come to us a bit more and we can move the Go Daddy car up the charts."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): ""We continued our work list from last week's test. So many things were left due to the weather. We came here with some changes and over the course of the practice we tried a number of things. The track was a bit different. Initially it was quite greasy, low grip which is typical Mid-Ohio. And it was quite rapidly rubbered down so after the first half of the season the track was getting pretty good. We couldn't make the most of our potential. We tried different things but I was struggling with the balance a bit. We will go through the data and continue to work on that."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "The circuit is different from when we tested so we had to try a few things. We still have time to find some time with this car so I' m not worried."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): "We were good at the test (last week at Mid-Ohio), and that carried over to today. We didn't even run our last set of tires, so that proves right there how quick the RC Cola car was today. We were one change away from going much quicker than that."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): ""We didn't learn much from that session. It was a short practice interrupted by a lot of yellows. So, with so few laps, we never got a good read on the car. But, Marco (Andretti) was really fast, so we're able to take advantage of being a three-car team and use what he learned to help us for tomorrow."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "We're just three full-tenths shy of the hot ticket, the hot crowd. We are coming off a pretty decent test where we narrowed down the options, but we are kind of running out. We tried quite a few things. We still have some ideas, but it is a quick weekend. You get one less (practice) session. Tomorrow is going to be difficult to understand what's going to happen because from 140 degrees on the track, it's going to go down to 70 or 80 (during morning practice). Then back up for qualifying. It's just a lot of variables that really seem to hurt us. We can't seem to be able to hit the target. We know what is going to happen and we need to do this and we need to do that. We try to shoot for a solution for a given problem and the problem changes because things change so much from one session to another. The team is doing a good job, but we haven't found what we are looking for."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "It's cool to race here because it's sort of Sarah's home track. It's a little added pressure but I like the challenge." (On learning the track): "It's difficult to learn a track like this quickly because it's such high commitment. You really have to put the car out there. You're going through high-speed corners and you have to be fully concentrated on what you're doing. It's important to be confident in yourself. It's difficult because you have to build the speed slowly. I really think it's one of the best tracks I've ever driven on though."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet): "We had a decent day during our short practice session. We have some changes to make on the No.2 PPG machine, but we didn't change tires during the session which led us to finish a little bit down the list on the lap times. I feel we've got a good car and we should have a good shot at the pole tomorrow."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "It was a good day for the No.3 Penske Truck Rental team. I didn't get to practice much here a week ago because of an accident so we felt a little behind plus it doesn't help that I am not feeling well. I'm confident we will turn things around and hopefully this is just the beginning to a very good weekend."
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