Pagenaud fastest on Day 1 at Detroit

Simon Pagenaud blisters Detroit

Last year's two Detroit GP winners, Simon Pagenaud and Mike Conway, were 1-2 in the 45-minute practice session that precedes the three rounds of qualifications, including the Firestone Fast Six to determine the Verizon P1 Award winner, for Race 1 at 8:30 a.m. (ET) May 31. ABC will televise both 70-lap races (3:30 p.m. ET May 31 and June 1).

Pagenaud and Conway were 1-2 in the 45-minute afternoon practice session to top the day's two sessions. The three rounds of qualifications, including the Firestone Fast Six to determine the Verizon P1 Award winner, for Race 1 take place at 8:30 a.m. (ET), May 31. ABC will televise both 70-lap races (3:30 p.m. ET, May 31 and June 1).

Pagenaud set the bar high in the second 45-minute practice session for the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans with a lap of 1 minute, 17.6502 seconds on the 2.36-mile, 13-turn temporary street circuit.

Pagenaud, who earned his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series victory in Race 2 of the 2013 doubleheader on Belle Isle, was less than two-tenths of a second off the circuit record in its current configuration set by Conway in Race 2 last June.

Conway, who won Race 1 and was the Verizon P1 Award winner for Race 2, was .0647 of a second behind Pagenaud in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car for Ed Carpenter Racing.

"I think it's becoming an interesting track in terms of racing, not just qualifying, but there's some good places for passing — Turn 3, Turn 7," said Pagenaud, who won May 10 at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car. "It's breathtaking after being two weeks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You really get your hands full. It's certainly hard work. You just push yourself as hard as you can and try to do a good lap."

Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, runner-up in the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, and Will Power also recorded laps under 1:18 in the practice, while Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth with a best lap of 1:18.1674. The newly-crowned 500 Mile Race champion was quickest in the opening session.

"We had a great first session and in the second session we only used one set of tires, so we've got some tires in the back pocket for the rest of the weekend," said Hunter-Reay, who arrived in Detroit on May 28 after a whirlwind Indianapolis 500 Victory Tour. "I think we've got a pretty good car for qualifying; we'll see how it goes on session at a time."

POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): "It was a complete waste for me. We had brake problems in Practice 2, Practice 1 was okay. We tried a little experiment that didn't work out, and we weren't able to reset with what we thought was going to be a good set up because we just had brake issues the entire Practice 2. Very unfortunate because that's 50 percent of our practice for the weekend. I'll have a little bit of a deficit tomorrow, but we'll see what we have on the reds in the morning, that's all we can do."

MIKE CONWAY (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): (About picking up where he left off last year): "Yeah, it seems that way. Obviously couldn't do that without a good car from Ed Carpenter Racing. I think we just picked up where we left off at Long Beach, it seems to be a good place to start with here. I haven't touched it much, which is a big credit to the team really. Around the place it's a lot of fun, each lap gets your attention that's for sure. There's non-stop action around here, so yeah pretty happy so far. We'll see a big difference tomorrow with the reds, so just got to keep onto our plan."

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "The car felt pretty good. We made some changes to the car from the morning session and it was better but we didn't get the chance to run new tires at the end. Hopefully there is a lot more time to come tomorrow from me and from the car. It was definitely nice driving on a street circuit after my first oval race. It is a very packed schedule this weekend so you don't have time to think about things as much. You are always in the car so it is a big change [from Indianapolis]. It is a very bumpy circuit so it is completely the opposite. The main objective for this weekend is to finish both races and try to do a good job, do everything right, and hopefully get some solid points."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): "The National Guard car seems to be very competitive and that's all we can ask for. It seems we're right in the thick of it. I'm pretty happy with our pace. I brushed the wall in Practice 2 and ended our day about 15 minutes early but we're pretty quick and competitive. I think the things we found in Long Beach with the setup are starting to pay off."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "I wasn't too happy with the car in the session this morning. Traffic was a bit of an issue and it was hard to get a clear lap. We made some changes to the Target car and picked up some speed in the afternoon session. We still need to get the car better though. It looks like we're about six tenths of a second off still."

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Energizer Chevrolet): "Obviously this is the way we should be starting each race weekend – in the top five. We know we have the team and personnel to do it, it just takes time working together to get to know each other and making it all happen. We have a good Energizer car so far this weekend in Detroit and we'll start working to move up further on the speed chart for qualifying tomorrow."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "A tough day for the No. 2 Verizon Chevy. We are fighting some shifting issues that have kept us from really focusing on making the car faster. It's not bad, just a bit of understeer in the second session. Unfortunately the red flags fell at bad times for us as well. We'll just have to put our heads down tonight and come out with a plan to qualify well tomorrow."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "Today was a good day for the Hitachi team. We were quick in both practice sessions and were able to try some new things in the terms of our pit stops which I think will be very beneficial to us during the race. Hopefully our speed will carry over into tomorrow's qualifying and then race."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda): "It's a great track. I love it. The Penske organization always does a great job. I think it's becoming an interesting track in terms of racing, not just qualifying, but there's some good places for passing – Turn 3, Turn 7. It's very enjoyable. It's breathtaking after being two weeks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You really get your hands full. I have to say, it's certainly hard work. It's a lot of fun. You just push yourself as hard as you can and try to do a good lap."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "I like the schedule change here in Detroit with the fact that we get two practice sessions; I think that really helps everybody out. This place is a challenge every time we come – the track is very bumpy, surface changes and all that. All in all, I think we made some gains from practice one to practice two, which is good. If we can make that kind of jump again heading into qualifying, I think we'll be in a pretty good position. Qualifying is going to be tough; it's going to be about who's the bravest because this track is pretty tricky, but fingers crossed the United Fiber & Data car will be up there."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): "This track seems pretty difficult for everyone…especially for the rookies. This is a really tough track, and you're always on the limit. I have to improve for tomorrow; we'll go back and analyze everything since tomorrow is so important with qualifying and the first race. We'll work tonight and try to be better for tomorrow."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "I think it was a good day. We had a great first session – we led – and in the second session, we only used one set of tires, so we've got some tires in the back pocket for the rest of the weekend. I think we've got a pretty good car for qualifying – we'll see how it goes on session at a time. I'm not quite sure why the car quit early, but it just stalled and wouldn't re-fire."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "The No. 12 Verizon Chevy is slowly making progress. We definitely have to put everything together so we can get it done for qualifying tomorrow. We'll be ready."

Results

Rank Car Driver C/E/T Session Time Speed Total Laps
1 77 Pagenaud, Simon D/H/F Practice 2 01:17.6502 108.950 30
2 20 Conway, Mike D/C/F Practice 2 01:17.7149 108.859 39
3 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F Practice 2 01:17.7171 108.856 35
4 12 Power, Will D/C/F Practice 2 01:17.8966 108.606 32
5 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F Practice 2 01:18.1674 108.229 26
6 9 Dixon, Scott D/C/F Practice 2 01:18.2490 108.116 33
7 14 Sato, Takuma D/H/F Practice 2 01:18.3006 108.045 33
8 27 Hinchcliffe, James D/H/F Practice 2 01:18.3223 108.015 28
9 8 Briscoe, Ryan D/C/F Practice 2 01:18.4500 107.839 37
10 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/F Practice 2 01:18.6137 107.615 28
11 10 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F Practice 2 01:18.6294 107.593 39
12 34 Munoz, Carlos ( R) D/H/F Practice 2 01:18.6299 107.593 33
13 17 Saavedra, Sebastian D/C/F Practice 2 01:18.6468 107.570 31
14 67 Newgarden, Josef D/H/F Practice 2 01:18.7344 107.450 33
15 19 Wilson, Justin D/H/F Practice 1 01:18.8816 107.249 29
16 25 Andretti, Marco D/H/F Practice 2 01:19.0057 107.081 24
17 98 Hawksworth, Jack ( R) D/H/F Practice 2 01:19.1898 106.832 33
18 18 Huertas, Carlos ( R) D/H/F Practice 2 01:19.3857 106.568 32
19 2 Montoya, Juan Pablo D/C/F Practice 2 01:19.5345 106.369 27
20 83 Kimball, Charlie D/C/F Practice 2 01:19.5957 106.287 30
21 11 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/F Practice 2 01:19.6048 106.275 36
22 7 Aleshin, Mikhail ( R) D/H/F Practice 2 01:19.6560 106.207 35

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