Defensing Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet picked up in the afternoon session at Road America where he left off on Friday morning by topping the time sheets with a fastest time of 01:42.6279s and speaking following the session he said:
I think we are relatively pleased. The car has been easy to work with, which is great. It is nice when you don’t have to change too much. We’ve been trying things to make sure we understand sort of both ends of the car and where it can go if we adjust either end of it. Seems quick right out of the box. We haven’t had to do too much with it. The Chevy package is working really well, which I felt like it would be strong at this kind of track. We’ve been working hard with that group to make sure our power down and everything else is great. So far, so good with the Verizon car. We have a solid start; we just have to maintain it throughout the weekend.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Robert Wickens in the No.6 Lucas Oil Honda was second fastest with a time of 01:42.9025s and speaking following the session the Canadian commented by saying:
I think it was a pretty decent Friday. The Lucas Oil car feels good and we’re making good progress. We were top five in both sessions, but it’s only Friday, so we still have to work hard and keep our heads down. Initial signs are pretty positive for, hopefully, a good weekend.”
Dale Coyne with Vasser Sullivan Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais was happy with his day as he ended the afternoon in third place with a fastest speed of 01:43.0020s and speaking following the session the Frenchman commented by saying:
(I’m) pretty happy. I think, obviously, we didn’t test, a couple of guys did. Felt a little bit off this morning. We’re pretty confident because it was just mostly understeer in the car. Just pretty happy with the day. Our guys did a good job. The Firestone red (alternate) tires are definitely giving a huge amount of grip in comparison to the prime. But for us, it really wasn’t much of a balance change, so that was nice. Could definitely get a pretty decent run. Consistency was quite good, as well. Looking forward to the rest of the weekend
Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was fourth fastest with a time of 01:43.0545s and speaking following his session the Australian commented by saying:
We definitely changed the setup a bit, then went back. I think the track had really low grip at the beginning of every session, then got better. Kind of a little bit hard to pick what to do. But obviously, Josef (Newgarden) is really quick, so got plenty of data to look at. We’ll just keep working away at it
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet for Team Penske ended the session in fifth place with a fastest time of 01:43.1599s and speaking following the afternoon session the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion commented by saying:
We’ve made big improvement this weekend. It is obviously another very important weekend with Menards on the car. This is John’s (Menard) country here. I am eager to do very well, and the whole No. 22 team is using the momentum we gained at Texas. It feels like a really good weekend so far. I think we have more in the car; I didn’t extract all the best out of during practice. But, it felt really good. Chevy is giving us a lot of power around here which is always useful on those long straightaways. Now we are just going to have to put it all together in qualifying tomorrow.”
Graham Rahal in the No.15 Gehl Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing ended the session in sixth place with a fastest time of 01:43.1995s and speaking following the session Rahal commented by saying:
“It was a good finish to the day for the GEHL team. We pushed hard and made some changes between the sessions and I think we went the right direction. This morning we had some mishaps, and unfortunately, it lost us the session, but we had a good recovery. We’ll try to keep improving the car a little bit and see what we can do in qualifying.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda ended the session in seventh place with a fastest speed of 01:43.4212s and speaking following the session the series points leader commented by saying:
I think we started a little bit slow for some reason and had some work to do after the first practice session here at Road America. We know our way around here though, and after some changes tonight, I hope we can have the PNC Bank car pointed in the right direction, and closer to the top time the other manufacturer set
Takuma Sato in the No.30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda ended the session in eighth place and speaking following the day of action he said:
It was a good day, a productive one. We wanted to improve a little more than we did in the second session, but overall, we tried a few things and we learned a few good things and a few not so good. I think we can continue improving for tomorrow.
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda for Andretti ended the day in ninth place with a time of 01:43.4755s and speaking following the action he said:
We made some progress with the DHL car today, we need to make another step tomorrow. We didn’t really have a clear lap, but if we had, I think we would have been around P4 or P5 and we can work from there. We’ll put our heads down tonight, check in with the teammates and see where we are at tomorrow. We have one more session before qualifying and we’ll put it to good use
Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda rounded out the top ten with a time of 01:43.5603s and speaking following the action he said:
“Today wasn’t the best Friday that we’ve had. I think we are stepping through changes and making small improvements, but we didn’t find the big improvement that we need, which is disappointing. Fortunately, we have another session tomorrow and three teammate cars to try and put our heads together and come up with a solution. Right now, we need a pretty big step in performance to be fighting for pole.
Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda ended the session in 11th place with a time of 01:43.6221s and speaking following the session he said:
I was definitely happier with the car this morning. We kind of went in a different direction for the afternoon session and lost the car. We definitely have a clear direction on where we need to go and we’ll put that to use to go forward tomorrow with the U.S. Concrete car.”
Tony Kanaan in the No.14 ABC Supply Chevrolet ended the session in 12th place with a time of 01:43.6559s just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda who set a fastest time of 01:43.6899s and speaking following the session, the Mayor of HinchTown said:
“Pretty productive day. Obviously, we tested here last week, which I think helped us roll off with a solid car. For Practice 2, we decided to go in a little different direction with our setup, just to try and cover our bases, so we have a lot of data to look over tonight. We have pretty good pace on the blacks (primary Firestone tires) and were into the top five, but when we put the reds (alternate Firestone tires) on, we just didn’t find the grip that we normally do; we’ll look into that. This Arrow Electronics SPM team’s got a way of turning things around and being strong in qualifying, so hopefully, we can do that and get the job done tomorrow.”
Zach Veach in the No.26 Relay Group 1001 Honda for Andretti Autosport ended the session with a time of 01:43.9088s and speaking following the session he said:
Overall, it was a pretty good day for us in the Relay car. We know, confidently, that we have a car good enough to be in the top 10, maybe in the top six. We’re fighting a bit of an issue throughout the second session, but we know what that is, so we’ll fix it and get the speed we need tomorrow. I haven’t felt this confident in an Indy car yet – but I said that at Detroit and I said that at Texas. I really just feel like we are coming into our own and this is going to be our best weekend yet.
Dale Coyne Racing’s Zachary Claman DeMelo ended the session in 15th place with a time of 01:43.9204s and speaking following the session he said:
It’s awesome driving an Indy car here. I love the Road America track and I’m excited to be back here. We had a tough second session today in our Paysafe car, but we made big improvements from our first practice, which is really encouraging. What Sebastien (Bourdais) has seems to be working really well, so we’ll look at that and also at what I need to work on to improve. With that and some steady improvements, we should be looking good for tomorrow.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Jordan King in the No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet ended the session in 16th place with a time of 01:43.9475s and speaking following the session he said:
It is quite difficult to learn the circuit, relative to others that I have driven on. For example, St. Pete, it just felt a little bit easier to pick up the smaller parts. I feel quite comfortable in the car now, but it took a bit longer to get there in this morning’s session. It’s a longer circuit and requires a lot of confidence with the high speed and blind corners; when it’s only 45 minutes, you end up eating into your track time. I felt quite good in this afternoon’s session and we have a better idea of what direction we want to go in. A little bit annoying we haven’t quite jumped on it straight away, still a bit of progress to be made. Looking forward to having a good night’s sleep. I always find that when you are able to chill out, think about it, and sleep well it makes the second day much nicer. We all know where we need to go with the car and should be quicker tomorrow.
Spencer Pigot in the No.21 Direct Supply Chevrolet ended the session in 17th place and speaking following the session he said:
It was a pretty difficult day for us. We are kind of struggling to zero in on the balance and the setup that we want. We know what we need the car to do, we just have to try and find a way of getting it there. We are going to try and find some things overnight, then get the Direct Supply car handling a bit better and get more speed out of it tomorrow.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones in the No.10 First Data Honda was 18th fastest and speaking following the afternoon he said:
I’m obviously not thrilled with the results today with the First Data Honda, but we know Scott (Dixon) had a great car here last year and won the race, so there is good data to look at tonight. We have some work to do for sure, but I’m confident in our team that we can find what we were missing today in practice and be ready for qualifying tomorrow.”
AJ Foyt Racing’s Mathues ‘Matt’ Leist was 19th just ahead of Max Chilton. Speaking following the session Chilton said:
It was a challenging day at the office here at Road America for the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet. This is one of my favorite tracks – I know I can pedal a car around here pretty well. We were fighting for top six last year, so I’m trying to just drive the same, obviously, with less downforce. We’ve got an underlying balance issue – whether it’s new tires or old tires, it’s really just wherever we are, we’ve got the same issue that we just can’t seem to iron out. It’s slightly frustrating for a new team with the lack of testing we’ve been able to do, so we’ve got limited time to try and sort it. We’ll work it out tonight and if we can make some significant progress toward the end of FP3, I’m sure we can have a fairly decent qualifying.”
Gabby Chaves in the No.88 Harding Group Chevrolet was 21st and speaking following the session he said:
Road America is a great track and a lot of fun. Today was a bit challenging, as we are just working through our plan, but we found a big chunk of time between Practice 1 and Practice 2 today. That is very encouraging as we get ready for Practice 3 tomorrow. There are some things we are going to try out and that will hopefully take us to the next step to doing a great job in qualifying and then the race.
Charlie Kimball in the No.23 Tresiba Chevrolet was 22nd fastest and speaking following the session he said:
Obviously, that wasn’t the day we wanted for the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet. We’re struggling for balance and grip-a little bit of both. But we’ve got some good ideas, good data to look through and some concepts to think about. We’ll make solid, reasonable, intelligent changes for tomorrow. Hopefully, we can pick a good direction out of that and be ready for qualifying.
New Verizon IndyCar Series driver Alfonso Celis Jr rounded out the order in 23rd place after bringing out the only red flag during the session. Speaking following the session he said:
Today was going pretty well until the last practice. The day started off well for us. I was happy with the balance and I am still happy with the balance. We worked on some changes and I was happy with the direction we were going in. The second practice was going pretty good up until my incident. It is really unfortunate we have now lost this track time, but we will work hard and bounce back for tomorrow.”