Will Power tops 2nd test session at Barber

Will Power quickest overall
Will Power quickest overall

A full day of testing at Barber Motorsports Park pointed to the conclusion that the intense competition that the Verizon IndyCar Series has witnessed in recent seasons is going to be even closer and more unpredictable for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Twenty-two cars turned a total of 1,147 laps on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn scenic permanent road course today, in advance of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – the third of 17 races on this year's schedule, set for the weekend of April 21-23.

And while two-time Barber race winner and three-time pole sitter Will Power wound up fastest after six hours of on-track action, it was by no means decisive. The top 14 drivers on the combined speed chart were separated by less than a half-second.

Power set the best lap of the day moments before the checkered flag waved, at 1 minute, 7.7518 seconds (122.211 mph) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. The Aussie nudged out second-year Verizon IndyCar Series driver Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Honda) for top honors by less than a hundredth of a second.

"It just shows how tight it is between Honda and Chevy now," Power said. "It's tough, man. We just went through a bunch of stuff (during the test day) to see what it does and I think we got some good answers here. I think we've got a good car for here, I feel good about my setup."

Max Chilton 2nd quick
Max Chilton 2nd quick

Chilton, driving for the Chip Ganassi Racing team that switched to Honda from Chevrolet in the offseason, put down a lap of 1:07.7591 (122.198 mph) to finish second on the leaderboard.

"Good day apart from Power spoiling the fun at the end of the day, but it's all good fun," Chilton said. "It was a good test day. … We got a lot done.

"We actually were struggling a lot with the car all day, that's why we took a long, long lunch break to sort of change the car," Chilton added. "Then we definitely made steps forward, did a few fine-tunes. It's amazing, you make a few changes and you jump yourself up the board."

Two of Power's teammates at Team Penske, Josef Newgarden and Juan Pablo Montoya, finished third and fourth on the speed chart. Newgarden is in his first full season with the renowned team, replacing Montoya, who will drive for Team Penske at the two Indianapolis Motor Speedway races in May.

Newgarden, whose fast lap was 1:07.8402 (122.052 mph) in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy, said it took him time to adapt to the new tire supplied by Firestone for the Barber circuit.

"Very different feeling form the car today than I've ever had at Barber and that requires a lot of work," said the 2015 Barber race winner. "But we had a good day and the Verizon No. 2 car was fast. I think it has a lot of speed in it, it's just a matter of how we get that out of the car and how to make it consistent so that I can put the lap together for qualifying."

Juan Montoya
Juan Montoya

Montoya was fourth quick in the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet (1:07.8406, 122.051 mph) despite it being his first time in an Indy car since the 2016 season finale six months ago. For the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, it was like riding a bike.

"I feel like I drove the car yesterday," Montoya said. "It's kind of fun. I've been out of the car since September, but I feel fine. I have a new crew, new guys, new engineer. It's working really well."

Andretti Autosport drivers Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively, on the day. Sato was fastest in the three-hour first session, but was among the 19 drivers who improved their times in the second practice as teams honed in on setups. Push-to-pass was also activated on all cars for the final hour of the second practice, giving a 60-horsepower boost whenever it was used.

Sebastien Bourdais, winner of the March 12 season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, was 13th fastest overall today. Defending Barber winner and series champion Simon Pagenaud ran 10th.

The next race on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The famous street-course race airs live at 4 p.m. ET April 9 on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama follows two weeks later at Barber Motorsports Park, airing at 3 p.m. ET on the same networks.

Session 2 Results

Rank Car Driver Name Make Time Speed Diff Gap Best Lap Total Laps
1 12 Power, Will CHEVY 01:07.7518 122.211 –.—- –.—- 22 22
2 8 Chilton, Max HONDA 01:07.7591 122.198 0.0073 0.0073 23 26
3 2 Newgarden, Josef CHEVY 01:07.8402 122.052 0.0884 0.0811 17 19
4 22 Montoya, Juan Pablo CHEVY 01:07.8406 122.051 0.0888 0.0004 21 21
5 27 Andretti, Marco HONDA 01:07.9664 121.825 0.2146 0.1258 16 16
6 26 Sato, Takuma HONDA 01:07.9835 121.794 0.2317 0.0171 13 14
7 9 Dixon, Scott HONDA 01:08.0255 121.719 0.2737 0.0420 23 30
8 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan HONDA 01:08.0935 121.598 0.3417 0.0680 22 25
9 15 Rahal, Graham HONDA 01:08.1172 121.555 0.3654 0.0237 23 25
10 1 Pagenaud, Simon CHEVY 01:08.1876 121.430 0.4358 0.0704 25 29
11 3 Castroneves, Helio CHEVY 01:08.2235 121.366 0.4717 0.0359 13 19
12 18 Bourdais, Sebastien HONDA 01:08.2308 121.353 0.4790 0.0073 24 24
13 19 Jones, Ed (R) HONDA 01:08.2488 121.321 0.4970 0.0180 17 28
14 98 Rossi, Alexander HONDA 01:08.3366 121.165 0.5848 0.0878 17 19
15 20 Pigot, Spencer CHEVY 01:08.4217 121.014 0.6699 0.0851 24 28
16 5 Hinchcliffe, James HONDA 01:08.4951 120.885 0.7433 0.0734 24 26
17 7 Aleshin, Mikhail HONDA 01:08.5943 120.710 0.8425 0.0992 25 27
18 4 Daly, Conor CHEVY 01:08.6138 120.675 0.8620 0.0195 11 23
19 21 Hildebrand, JR CHEVY 01:08.6952 120.532 0.9434 0.0814 28 29
20 10 Kanaan, Tony HONDA 01:08.6957 120.532 0.9439 0.0005 9 21
21 14 Munoz, Carlos CHEVY 01:08.7088 120.509 0.9570 0.0131 17 18
22 83 Kimball, Charlie HONDA 01:08.8144 120.324 1.0626 0.1056 8 11

Session 1 and 2 Overall

Rank Car Driver Name Make Session Time Speed Total Laps
1 12 Power, Will CHEVY Practice 2 01:07.7518 122.211 54
2 8 Chilton, Max HONDA Practice 2 01:07.7591 122.198 57
3 2 Newgarden, Josef CHEVY Practice 2 01:07.8402 122.052 47
4 22 Montoya, Juan Pablo CHEVY Practice 2 01:07.8406 122.051 47
5 27 Andretti, Marco HONDA Practice 2 01:07.9664 121.825 54
6 26 Sato, Takuma HONDA Practice 2 01:07.9835 121.794 52
7 9 Dixon, Scott HONDA Practice 2 01:08.0255 121.719 46
8 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan HONDA Practice 2 01:08.0935 121.598 52
9 15 Rahal, Graham HONDA Practice 2 01:08.1172 121.555 64
10 1 Pagenaud, Simon CHEVY Practice 2 01:08.1876 121.430 62
11 10 Kanaan, Tony HONDA Practice 1 01:08.2163 121.379 47
12 3 Castroneves, Helio CHEVY Practice 2 01:08.2235 121.366 50
13 18 Bourdais, Sebastien HONDA Practice 2 01:08.2308 121.353 42
14 19 Jones, Ed (R) HONDA Practice 2 01:08.2488 121.321 53
15 98 Rossi, Alexander HONDA Practice 1 01:08.3353 121.167 65
16 7 Aleshin, Mikhail HONDA Practice 1 01:08.4181 121.021 52
17 20 Pigot, Spencer CHEVY Practice 2 01:08.4217 121.014 52
18 5 Hinchcliffe, James HONDA Practice 2 01:08.4951 120.885 65
19 4 Daly, Conor CHEVY Practice 2 01:08.6138 120.675 56
20 21 Hildebrand, JR CHEVY Practice 2 01:08.6952 120.532 61
21 14 Munoz, Carlos CHEVY Practice 2 01:08.7088 120.509 42
22 83 Kimball, Charlie HONDA Practice 2 01:08.8144 120.324 27

Leave a Reply