Wilson tops 2nd Houston IndyCar practice (Update) UPDATE Quotes added below as well as Combined Friday Times (Click to enlarge):
10/04/13 Justin Wilson put the Dale Coyne Honda on the top of the charts for the 2nd IndyCar practice session for the Houston GP. Will Power, who topped the first session, was 2nd quick in his Chevy.
Points leader Helio Castroneves spun twice in Turn 2 but did little damage.
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): “We had mechanical issues today, so I didn’t get enough time on this new track, and I don’t feel like I know the track as well as I should. This is really bad timing for us in the championship, and we may have a tough time in qualifications and the first race tomorrow.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 T-Mobile Honda): “It was a very stop-start day with all the red flags we encountered out there on track. The T-Mobile car is good, though, and we had many laps going where we would have been right up there. But the reds (flags) just kept negating those laps. Hopefully we can show what we have tomorrow in qualifying.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think our sessions overall were positive today. The test we did at Sebring a few weeks back really is paying off for us and the Target car. We still have a ways to go before we get into the race, but I’m happy with the progress so far.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): “We definitely didn't have a good Friday. I made a pretty sizable mistake, and the bummer is that I really got penalized for it. It was a bad move on my part, but the guys did an incredible job putting the car back together. I can't believe how quickly they did it. We got an install lap in, so we should be good to go for qualifying tomorrow. We're going to be a bit behind now, but we just have to do the best we can. I have complete faith that we are going to have a good weekend still. It's still early, and we'll rebound just fine in the Strike car.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): “I think we’ve been in the ballpark all day. I think the DHL Chevy is good. I’m pretty happy with where we are right now. Everybody is a little bit frustrated with how tight this place is in dealing with traffic, but I can say qualifying is going to be at a premium. Everything is good, though. We’re happy with it. We only sustained a left-front suspension damage this morning, so all good. You have to step over the limit to know where the limit is.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): “Obviously, it’s a bit of an abnormal day with the way everything transpired. It’s too bad that we had to make that adjustment to the track to get out there and run, but I think it was a compromise that at least got us some track time on 95 percent of the track we are going to be running. The GoDaddy PINK car is actually pretty quick. We were never on track with everybody else at the same time, but I think we are in or around the top five. Unfortunately, in the second session we had a couple problems. We had a battery die, and that cost us some time. We didn’t get new tires and didn’t get through all the changes we wanted to try. At least it wasn’t qualifying, and I think it almost actually works out better. I think maybe next year we should look into having qualifying for Saturday on Saturday morning, and qualifying for Sunday on Sunday morning and give us a full day of practice on Friday. That may be the good thing to come out of today. But happy Ryan (Hunter-Reay) was quick, and I think as a team we can be competitive tomorrow.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): “Overall, it was a pretty good day for the NovoLog FlexPen car. When you come to a track you haven’t been to in six years as a series, it’s always a challenge. But the guys did a great job on getting us some laps on most of the track. I know they’ll make the repairs, as needed, to Turn 1 so we can have a full straight, which will change the entry into Turn 2. Overall, we’re pretty happy with the car. We’ve made some good progress, and now we just have to get ready for heading into qualifying tomorrow morning.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “It’s a tough track, and it’s really bumpy. But when the grip comes up, it feels good. Once the car starts to work around here, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s tough. It’s really physical, and you’re bouncing around and you’re trying to land in the right spot and get on the brakes and try not to lose one end or the other. This morning, I lost the rear on the turn in to Turn 2 or 3 and looped it around. We can see a lot of that, and it’s going to continue to throughout the race. It’s so hard to keep it on that knife edge. I’m really pleased with the car that Dale Coyne Racing has given me. Hopefully we can keep it up tomorrow and have a good qualifying.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): “It was an interesting day for everyone out there. We did not get the amount of track time that we expected, which you need in a place like this to understand it. We made progress in the No. 6 Dragon Racing TRUECar during the second practice session but were unable to put the fast time we were looking for down when we needed it. We feel we have something strong for tomorrow's qualifying session and race. It’s all about taking care of the tires and getting as much experience each lap we put out.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s a new circuit, and the day was fine. Everyone got a good idea of the track. Heading into qualifying, everyone is going to have to relearn the braking point for the chicane there. But I’m happy with the Verizon Team Penske car right now. It’s a long weekend with the two races, but hopefully we can qualify at the front and have a shot at two wins this weekend.” (About changes from last time he raced here): “It’s definitely tightened up with the way they’ve done the curbs. It will be interesting to see how it races. These cars are still pretty quick around here.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “I would be lying if I didn’t say this is one of the more odd practice days of my career. It seems even worse than Baltimore’s first race. It’s a tough place. It’s rough. It’s slick. There were so many yellows that we missed a lot of track time today. I will say that I like this schedule format than the other doubleheaders with the Friday qualifying. We’ll qualify on Saturday and Sunday now. We made some progress today, and I am getting more comfortable with the track.”
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Angie’s List Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “We had crazy sessions out here today in Houston with multiple red flags. We were able to get a good lap in toward the end of the second session, and that felt great. We ended up with a good time today, but tomorrow is what counts for quals and races. We need to stay focused and keep improving tomorrow.”