Hunter-Reay Starts Strong at Road America

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The NTT IndyCar Series’ fourth visit to Road America since top-level North American open-wheel racing returned to the venue began Friday morning with a 45-minute practice session topped by Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Punctuated by two red flags brought out by the same driver in the same turn, the session featured the top seven in the championship standings at the top of the timesheet, although in a shuffled order.

Hunter-Reay, ranked seventh in the championship after nine rounds, turned just nine laps with a 1:43.7556 representing his best revolution of the 4-mile circuit. Fifth-ranked Takuma Sato was second fastest in his No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, just 0.0688 seconds off Hunter-Reay’s fastest lap.

Scott Dixon delivered a top-three lockout for Honda with the third-quickest lap, 0.2286 seconds shy of Hunter-Reay and just 0.0552 seconds ahead of fourth-place Will Power. Power’s 1:44.0394 represented the best effort from both Team Penske and Chevrolet.

Points leader Josef Newgarden placed fifth in Practice 1, ahead of rival Alexander Rossi in sixth. Rossi trails Newgarden by 25 points heading into Sunday’s 55-lap race.

Indianapolis 500 victor Simon Pagenaud, ranked third in the championship, completed the top-seven sweep with the seventh-fastest lap in his No. 22 Menards-branded Chevrolet. Spencer Pigot, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti rounded out the top 10.

The he avoided the very bottom of the timesheet, Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey had a trying first IndyCar session at Road America. Nine minutes after the start of practice, he brought out the first red flag when his No. 60 Honda went off course in Turn 12. Twenty minutes later, the second red flag appeared when he made front-end contact with the Turn 12 tire barrier after a trip through the sand trap at high speed.

Despite Harvey’s troubles, he was still quicker than Max Chilton, whose Carlin Chevrolet was the slowest of the 23 cars, only coming within 19 seconds of Hunter-Reay’s chart-topping lap on his quickest trip around. Harvey, one position ahead in 22nd, was 3.1529 seconds from the top while 21st-placed Graham Rahal was 1.8636 seconds off Hunter-Reay with the slowest true flying lap.

While the top 10 was split by eight-tenths of a second, the top 20, down to Marcus Ericsson one position better than Rahal, was separated by 1.8563 seconds. A field of 24 cars lapped within 1.4675 seconds in Practice 1 at the

The series will return to the expansive racetrack Friday at 3 p.m. CDT for a second 45-minute practice session, to be shown on NBC Sports Gold via INDYCAR Pass. Fifteen minutes after IndyCar’s second checkered flag of the day, a 30-minute combined pit stop practice and “warm-up” session will begin.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinchttp://www.benhinc.com
Ben's executive editor title is purposefully broad to encompass the bottomless list of roles he fills for The Apex, which includes webmaster, graphic designer, quality consultant and writer. Ben's technical background and progressive media distribution approach set The Apex apart technologically and philosophically.

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