The defending Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama winner was quickest in the both practice sessions for the April 27 race.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up where he left off in Alabama.
The defending Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama winner was quickest in the both practice sessions for the April 27 race with a lap of 1 minute, 8.7836 seconds in the No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport in the afternoon session.
“It is quite a bit hotter than we’re used to here at Barber,” said Hunter-Reay, who also won the Verizon P1 Award at Barber in 2013. “It takes some getting used to and the track conditions have certainly changed, but we’ve tested here quite a bit – we tested here in the offseason and we definitely can’t get enough of Barber. The Andretti Autosport car is great right now, we’re not where we want to be yet, but I expect to see all four of us up front (tomorrow).”
Sebastien Bourdais recorded a lap of 1:08.9331 to finish second in the afternoon session while Josef Newgarden, who last April jumped from the 22nd starting position to ninth (his first Verizon IndyCar Series top 10), was second in the morning session to place third overall.
Will Power, who won the race in 2011 and '12 was fourth at 1:08.9746 while James Hinchcliffe was fifth at 1:09.0036.
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
- The Verizon IndyCar Series will compete in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, a 90-lap race at 4:50 p.m. (ET) Sunday. The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the final developmental step on the Mazda Road to Indy, will compete in the Long Beach 100, a 45-lap race at 1:15 p.m. Sunday.
- How Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal said he plans to attack the twists and turns of the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park road course during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama caught the attention of students from seven Birmingham City high schools during an event at the racetrack April 24.
The students – all of whom have an interest in science, technology, engineering and math -- participated in Alabama Power’s fourth Automobiles for a Cleaner Tomorrow education event. Rahal and other guests pointed out how the sciences connect to the automotive industry and racing.
“Our relationship with Alabama Power is one that we greatly value,” said Rick Humphrey, vice president of ZOOM Motorsports, the event promoter of Barber Motorsports Park. “Their dedication to investing in the lives of children through the Alabama Power: Automobiles for a Cleaner Tomorrow education event is remarkable.”
- Juan Pablo Montoya returns to race in Alabama for the first time since rejoining the Verizon IndyCar Series this season. Talladega Superspeedway was the site of Montoya's first career stock car race and the first pole of his NASCAR career.
"Barber is a really a cool racetrack with the way they used the terrain and hills. But it's really fast and coming here for the first time (to test) in February was an eye-opening experience,” he said.
- Helio Castroneves’ No. 3 AAA-sponsored car will feature a promotion of the DreamWorks feature film "How To Train Your Dragon 2," which will hit theaters June 13.
Castroneves, the 2010 race winner at Barber, recorded a safe driving public service announcement that included promotion of the movie.
“Winning the first race there in 2010 was a great feeling. Everyone wants to be the first to do something,” Castroneves said. “Team Penske has been pretty solid there and I expect more of the same this weekend.”
- In his 10-year Indy car career, Will Power has picked up 20 of his 22 wins on temporary street circuits or road courses. The current Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader has won two of the four races at Barber and has finished in the top five in the other two races.
“You love any track where you've had a lot of success. It just fits my driving style well,” Power said. “Barber is very high speed with a lot of banking – there aren't many road courses like it that we go to.”
- Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR Medical Director: James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Autosport and Sebastian Saavedra of AFS KVAFS Racing, who reported injuries suffered in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13, have been re-evaluated and are cleared to drive.