JAMES HINCHCLIFFE/No.27 Andretti Autosport Honda was the fastest Verizon IndyCar Series driver Friday morning with a time of 1:09.9262. He was the first driver to break into the .09’s, and despite HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet hitting the 1:09’s, Hinchcliffe still went faster again and remained in the top position.
Third overall was JUSTIN WILSON/No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, followed by RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.28 Andretti Autosport Honda, and JOSEF NEWGARDEN/No.67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda.
The temperatures had already risen to 70 degrees for the 10am practice, with track temps of a bit more than that.
Newgarden had been one of top fastest drivers early on, but shortly after turning his fast lap he plowed into the tire barrier in Turn 11 hairpin, bringing out the Red Flag. He was unhurt, but very dejected. The car sustained front end damage. His fast time held for awhile until eclipsed by Hinchcliffe.
Prior to Newgarden’s fast lap, SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/No.11 KVSH Racing Chevrolet was on top. After Newgarden’s side trip, Bourdais did a spin, but no harm, no foul. His final placing was eleventh.
JACK HAWKSWORTH/No.98 BHA/BBM with Curb Agajanian Honda was the top Rookie, placing seventh overall. The other two Rookies, MIKHAIL ALESHIN/No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda and CARLOS HUERTAS/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda were at the other end of the chart.
The Sunday race should be very interesting, with its standing start. Many cameras will be focused on Turn One.
In the TUDOR United Sports Car Challenge Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase, SCOTT PRUETT/No.01 Riley DP Ford EcoBoost turned his fastest lap a minute before the checkered flag. He was fastest overall and in the P Class, running a 1:16.441. Second through sixth and overall were OSWALDO NEGRI Jr/No.60 Riley DP Ford EcoBoost, JOAO BARBOSA/No.5 Corvette DP, ORDAN TAYLOR/No.10 Corvette DP, MICHAEL VALIANTE/No.90 Corvette DP, and GUSTAVO YACAMAN/No.42 Morgan Nissan.
In the highly competitive GT-Le Mans class, OLIVER GAVIN/No.3 Chevrolet Corvette CR-7.R was fastest at 1:19.797. Second and third in class were BMW teammates, BILL AUBERLEN/No.55 BMW Z4 GTE AND dirk muller/NO.56. Sellers was fourth fastest before he stopped, and fifth was the RISI Ferrari 458 team with GIANCARLO FISICHELLA and DANE CAMERON.
The USCC practice had two Red Flags, firstly for two minutes when RICHARD WESTBROOK/No.90-P Corvette DP stopped in Turn One with an open door which got hit, and then ten minutes for NICK TANDY/No.991 GTLM Porsche 911 RSR stopping on course. The only other event was and BRYAN SELLERS/No.17-GTLM Porsche 911 RSR pulling off course in Turn Seven. No one was hurt.
IndyCars have an afternoon practice, and USCC has qualifying late in the afternoon, with all three classes running separately.