The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team had a mixed day at the Phoenix International Raceway ahead of Saturday’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix on Friday. In the opening practice session, James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda was a qualifying simulation run when he hit the wall at Turn 2.
Fortunately the Canadian was unhurt in the crash however due to the extent of the damage to his car he was unable to take part in qualifying and will start Saturday’s race under the lights from 22nd place. Speaking following the session he commented by saying:
It’s tough to tell, We were just on a qualifying simulation, and had a bunch of understeer in the car and were making small adjustments in the car to try to dial it out. Turns three and four is normally a bit looser than turns one and two, and we had understeer even in turns three and four, so I made a small adjustment on the front bar and the next lap I had some understeer getting into it and the thing just snapped. It’s a huge kick in the nuts obviously for a race we have as little track time as we have here. I feel really bad for the guys that have to fix the Arrow machine, but we’ll get it buttoned up and just try to focus on what we can from here.
Mikhail Aleshin in the No.7 SPM Racing Honda had a better qualifying as the Russian ended the day as the third fastest Honda powered car and will start the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand from 13th place on the grid and speaking about his performance he commented by saying:
I’m actually really happy to be the third fastest Honda driver, I wasn’t here for the test last month and this was my first qualifying on an oval after the Fontana crash in 2014, so I think it shows potential for the No. 7 SMP Racing car and for the team. I hope we’re going to have a little bit more power for the race.