Friday Morning Update from Baltimore

UPDATE Justin and Stefan Wilson just wrapped up a meeting with the media here at The Grand Prix of Baltimore Presented by SRT. Justin Wilson said the layout here in Baltimore is one of the bumpiest the series travels to. However, he also noted that the new three-point chicane on Pratt Street seemed to be doing its job, and the issue of the cars getting airborne should be solved.

Stefan Wilson, who is of course, making his debut this weekend, was asked the primary difference between an Indy car and Indy Lights car. He said that there were clear differences in down force and horsepower, but the most notable difference in his mind? The electronics on the steering.

Stefan described the relatively gizmo-less, decade old Lights car as "raw," when compared to a modern Indy car.

Stefan also said he spent a lot of time knocking on doors looking to secure sponsorship, mostly in vain. However, his sponsor for this weekend, Nirvana Tea, approached him.

There are some other alternate liveries this weekend. We mentioned Marco Andretti is sporting Dr. Pepper colors earlier. Graham Rahal is running the blu eCigs livery on the #15 Honda, similar to what Mike Conway ran at Long Beach. Tristan Vautier has Environmental Real Solutions sponsorship on the #55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

Helio Castroneves is running the PPG colors on the #3 Team Penske Chevrolet.

Dario Franchitti's #10 Honda is painted black and carrying Cessna primary sponsorship this week.

Brian C. reporting from Baltimore

08/30/13 It’s a slightly overcast humid morning here in Charm City. The Izod IndyCar is scheduled to begin their first practice session for The Grand Prix of Baltimore Presented by SRT at 10:10 a.m.

Stefan Wilson will make his IndyCar debut this weekend driving the #18 Nirvana Tea Honda. Oriol Servia is back in the #4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet. Remember, Servia finished second here in 2011.

One driver to keep an eye on will be Luca Filippi, who is making his second start in the #98 Barracuda Racing Honda. Remember, Fillipi was fast during the Mid-Ohio weekend, but had a spin in qualifying and was forced to start at the back. If Fillipi can replicate the pace he had at Mid-Ohio, and avoid trouble during qualifying, he could be a factor this weekend.

The four Andretti Autosport drivers met with the press about a half hour ago. Marco Andretti noted that while he was happy with the consistency he has shown this year, he is still "not where he wants to be." By the way, Andretti's #25 Chevrolet is outfitted in Dr. Pepper colors this weekend.

One subject raised with the drivers was restarts. Remember, there was controversy surrounding the restart in last years' Baltimore race, which Ryan Hunter-Reay was accused of jumping in getting the advantage over second-place finisher Ryan Briscoe. And of course, Andretti was accused by Roger Penske of getting out of line too early last week at Sonoma.

James Hinchcliffe noted that the restarts would be smoother if they were both "slower and later." Pointing that Hunter-Reay went last year when the green flag was thrown, Hinchliffe said they would be better if the starter waited longer.

That's probably true. However, the restart zone is incredibly small here, and given the friction from last weekend, plus the fact the championship battle is on everyone's mind, don't be surprised if there's controversy Sunday.

Brian C. reporting from Baltimore

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