Afternoon Update from Baltimore

Tristan Vautier of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports led a Honda sweep of the top-5 during Izod IndyCar Series Practice 2 at The Grand Prix of Baltimore Presented by SRT. The run continued a strong day for the French rookie, who was 8th in the first practice.

Graham Rahal also had a good day, running fourth in the first session, and second in Practice 2. Rahal noted that the he has enjoyed working with new crew chief Neil Fife and feels confident about the team's chances this weekend. Remember, Rahal qualified 8th and had a good weekend going at Sonoma before being spun out on a restart. Also, Rahal has run strong in each of the previous Baltimore races.

Josef Newgarden also showed excellent form today, running 6th in the first session, third in the second. Of course, Newgarden's Achilles heel this season has been qualifying on the road and street courses, where he has average qualifying position of 19.7.

p In other news, Tony Kanaan and Jimmy Vasser met with the media earlier. Kanaan was asked about the Baltimore event and what he thought IndyCar could do to attract more fans. Kanaan, who is planning to travel to Brazil in September to meet with potential sponsors, noted that race attendance was not IndyCar's problem, television exposure was.

Of course, has long outlined the disastrous television package IndyCar has. And with NASCAR trying to move to NBC Sports Network as early as next season, you have to wonder whether IndyCar is working to get out from under their deal with NBCSN. Or are they simply sitting back, and banking the checks they receive from NBCSN, while the sport slowly dies?

Brian C. reporting from Baltimore

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