Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi who drives the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda ended Friday’s opening day of practice at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the season ending double points Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Following a difficult afternoon session, the Californian ended the warm up session as the fastest driver with a time of 01:10.0988s. Prior to Friday’s action, Rossi and his team mate Ryan Hunter Reay swapped cars on Thursday during the six hour open test to gauge each others set ups for the race this weekend.
Speaking about his team mate following the track action on Friday, Alexander Rossi said:
I think (we) have been kind of been joined at the hip for a lot of years now in a lot of ways.. “We feed off each other really well and work well together, and it’s great to have a teammate like that. With how competitive (INDYCAR) is, you need to have guys you can rely on. The first one I go to at the end of every session is this guy.
Rossi went on to explain what had happened in the second session on Friday saying:
We kind of sacrificed (Friday’s) second session to try and get as many runs in as we could to go through a checklist,. “We saved the new reds for the (third session), so I think we’re getting there.
“We used (Thursday’s six-hour test) to make sure we leave no stones unturned; I think we’ve flipped most of the stones. There’s a couple more to come tomorrow morning, but we’re just trying to make sure we have everything squared away for (qualifying) and (the race).
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda commented saying:
“I think we made the car better today as we went through the day and working with Alex – I think we’re headed in the right direction.. “Hopefully we can put these two cars on the front row.”
The other championship contenders were right on Rossi’s heels. Pagenaud, the 2016 series champion, had the day’s fifth-fastest lap at 114.875 mph (1:10.1353). Newgarden, the champion in 2017, was seventh at 114.729 (1:10.2066) with Dixon, a five-time series champion, eighth at 114.651 mph (1:10.2722).
Conor Daly in the No.25 US Air Force Honda who last drove for Andretti Autosport at the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and he had a great warm up on Friday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Friday where he finished the day in fifth place with a fastest time of 01:11.1182s and speaking following the action he said:
I think we made a lot of progress today. There were a lot of yellow and red flags that kind or ruined a lot of people’s day – as they did for us, too. We’re just trying to figure out what I can get out of this car and adjusting to the package. It’s been positive every session. We are learning more and hopefully we can put the right pieces together tomorrow.
Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda ended the day in 11th place with a time of 01:12.1296s and speaking following the session he said:
We had a really good day, I think. The used Red tires were actually our quick lap because we got held up by Bourdais in Practice 2. Our theoretical time is still up in the top six – and that’s on used tires, so I’m really optimistic. It’s my kind of Red tire!”
Speaking following his day in the car, Zach Veach in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda said:
Today was good. We were P5 this morning and the car was exactly what I wanted. This afternoon we just missed it a little bit, but the biggest factor was on our Reds. We just ran into traffic, so we didn’t get a true Red run, like most of the other guys did. If we put our best lap together, we are somewhere around sixth or seventh. Overall, I think we are in an okay place we just need to be sure we get good, clean laps tomorrow.