Ryan Hunter-Reay put his bright sunny yellow No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda at the top of the charts after his fourth of eight laps. He was one of the very last drivers to go on track Saturday morning at Sonoma Raceway. He was the first driver to get into the 1:17’s, turning a time of 1:17.7150.
Although the session started mostly overcast, by the end of the session full sun had broken through, and the almost non-existant breeze made the mid-sixties temperature almost feel warm.
Second fastest and the only other driver to break into the 1:17’s was 2013 IndyCar Champion, Scott Dixon, who was the very last driver out on course with 16 minutes to go. His time was 1:17.8990.
Third through fifth were Tony Kanaan, who led at the half-way mark, setting his fast time of 1:18.1895 after three laps in No.10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet; Helio Castroneves at 1:28.2732 in No.3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, and current points leader, Will Power in No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet with 1:18.4046.
Turning the most laps were Rookie Carlos Heurtas in No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda and road racer Mike Conway in No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet -18. Conway, who only runs the road and street courses, finished P20, and Huertas in P22.
The top five were all late starters, and turned fewer laps than most. RHR and Dixon ran eight laps, and Penske teammates Power and Castroneves ran nine.
Power was one of the last to go on track – 27 minutes into the 45-minute session. He moved up to fifth by his third lap, where he remained.
Power is a favorite to do well this weekend. He still holds the IndyCar track qualifying record of 1:17.2709/111.116 mph set in 2012. Three is his magic number: He’s won at Sonoma Raceway three times, twice from pole, and been on pole three times this year. At this track, the Aussie led 217 of the last 320 laps. He’s leading the Drivers’ Standings by 39 points ahead of his teammate, Castroneves, and has finished in the top 15 in every race so far this year. Power certainly hopes this is his year, after finishing second in the Drivers Championship three years in a row, 2010-2012. Last year he finished fourth overall.
IndyCars run their second 45-minute practice session at 1:15 pm PDT.