BALTIMORE (August 31, 2012) – It was a very interesting first day of practice on the Streets of Baltimore. Due to a dip that preceded the train tracks on Pratt Street, the IZOD IndyCar Series officials determined in order to preserve the quality of the racing as well as the safety of the drivers to halt practice and install a chicane on the final straightway just out of turn 12 on the now 13-turn course.

Will Power, Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Rebecca McKay

When the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers returned to the track for the afternoon practice session, the conditions of the racing surface were much improved, and the teams and drivers proceeded with their preparations for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Baltimore. Will Power posted the fasted time of the session behind the wheel of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Other Team Chevy drivers also posting laps that landed them in the top-10 of the final order were Rubens Barrichello – 4th; James Hinchcliffe – 5th; Sebastien Bourdais – 6th and Ryan Hunter-Reay – 7th.

There will be another practice session on Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. to allow teams to finalize their set-ups from qualifying at 12:05 p.m.

T TEAM CHEVY DRIVER QUOTES – POST PRACTICE:

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – FASTEST IN PRACTICE: FROM POST-PRACTICE PRESS CONFERENCE:

ON CHANGES MADE TO THE TRACK AFTER FIRST PRACTICE: “I think that was definitely the right thing to do. It completely fixed the problem we had over the train tracks. I think they will make a few more adjustments overnight, but, all-in-all the track is all good. They will put curbs up there instead of the tires.”

DID THE REMOVAL OF THE TECHNICAL SECTION GOING INTO TURN FIVE CHANGE YOUR RHYTHM? “Yes, it definitely affects your rhythm through the five-six-seven (turns) complex. That used to be a very nice flowing part of the track. But I think they might actually take one of the curbs out, and that is going to make things easier. It is what it is. It is the same for everyone. It is another street course that we have to learn to be quick at.”

HOW IS THE NATURE OF THE RACE GOING TO CHANGE WITH THE CHICANE? “At the end, we left last year thinking that taking the chicane out would be a great idea to improve passing. That was the logic behind it. If we could have run over the train tracks, we would be doing it. But we can’t. That is the way we fixed it. I don’t know if it is going to improve racing or not. It will be what it will be, and I think it will still be a good race.”

DID IT HELP GOING OVER THE BUMPS? “Just a fact that we are going a bit slower helped that anyway. Everyone probably lifted their ride height a little bit.”

WHAT DO YOUR BODIES GO THROUGH WITH THE BUMPS OUT THERE? “Your head. The turn six curb rattles your head.”

TALK ABOUT BEING CLOSE TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: “I understand that things can switch pretty quickly. Right now it is a great lead, but you have to focus on the job at-hand. It is going to be what it will be. So, we will just focus on what we can control and get the most out of the weekend. Just keep heading toward that goal. That is what we need to do”

RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC/EMBRASE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 4TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “It was a pretty short day for someone trying to learn the track. However, from the word go I was okay with the setup of the car, so I was able to do fast lap times. We still have a lot of work to do to, but I am much happier now with the chicane that they added to stop the car launching.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – 5TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “Obviously, 95 percent of the track is going to be the same tomorrow as it was today. It’s just the chicane might have a little different profile, but at least we had a chicane to work with. Our car was reasonable, but it’s tough with so little track time. The gap to the guy in first is still pretty big, so we’ll take what we can from today and credit to the series for getting us out there and getting us a solid half hour of practice. It’s unfortunate what transpired, but I think everybody did a good job and kept their heads cool and we put on at least a bit of a show for the fans here today. We’ll hit the track running tomorrow and everything will be good and forgotten.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS NO. 7 TRUECAR-MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – 6TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “It was a very short day. The shortest Friday ever. The car is pretty good. We gave it our best shot based upon what we knew from last year. It seems to be pretty close. We’ll see what we can do for tomorrow. With half-an-hour, we hardly got anything done. We tried a damper adjustment and that seemed to help. So now we’re going to take a look at what we did today, try to make it better and go for it tomorrow.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT – 7TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “We can’t take much away from today. We had some braking issues that we had to sort out for tomorrow. We’re seventh and we can definitely improve from there. It’s good. The track is going to change a lot tomorrow and we can’t react too much.”

E.J. VISO, NO. 5 CITGO/PDVSA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 11TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “It was a colorful day due to the different tracks we had for each practice session. And the one we had in the last session is still not the one we will have for qualifying. However, even with the limited track time we had today we believe the changes we made from the first practice to the second improved the car. We still have some issues to address and that is what we will work on for tomorrow.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL CHEVROLET – 12TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “What an interesting day for the track and the Penske Truck Rental car. We had a slight problem with the brakes that we discovered towards the end of the session so we decided to stop so that we don’t have long term issues. We are looking forward to seeing how things are for tomorrow.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 GEICO/MOUSER ELECTRONICS KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 13TH IN 2ND PRACTICE:
ON PRACTICE: “It was an unusual day given that we had a track change between the two practice sessions and limited time on track. In the second session we lost some time working on the car the pits and we ran on used tires. We need to make some changes, but know what direction we want to go, so I think we can have a good qualifying session tomorrow.”

ON THE PROCESS OF THE DISCUSSIONS TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION TO THE TRACK ISSUE: “After this morning, we all agreed that we couldn’t go over like that, the railroad tracks. We got together, those are the things we face sometimes. We all thought last year, it was unanimous through us drivers, that we could actually take the chicane out. Tony Cotman (NZR Consulting-track design consultant) had the perfect explanation. Those railroad tracks, they sit on the rubber; their construction, they sit on the rubber. Not the same from a year ago. We all thought we could avoid the chicane and have a better passing zone, and obviously we found out there was not. It was a great response between us drivers, IndyCar, Cotman and the city itself to be able to change it. We worked extremely hard, especially the drivers, with Tony Cotman, the past three months, to try to make changes to the track to make it better. I think one of the things we realized…we asked them to actually change turn six as well. We made the change, and we still don’t think it is right so we are going to try to work on that curb. As far as the chicane, I think it was unanimous through us that we didn’t want it. But right now the challenges we face on a temporary street course, I think it was the best solution for what we got. Hopefully we will put on a good show for the fans.”

IF YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE THE CURB, IS TWO CURBS BETTER THAN THREE? “I think it was unanimous among us that we don’t want three curbs. Two is definitely the way to go. The way the tires were this afternoon, if they make that when they put the curb in, I think that we did slow down enough. It is quicker than last year, for sure. I think that is a better solution; two curbs.”

WHAT DO YOUR BODIES GO THROUGH WITH THE BUMPS OUT THERE? “Without the chicane this morning, it would take your breath away. You have to understand, we don’t have a lot of cushion. Our seats are not made for that, and the car either. It’s definitely the most uncomfortable feelings I had in a lot of years, going through that place this morning.”

HOW WILL CHICANE ALTER YOUR STRATEGIES WITH PUSH-TO-PASS? “It’s hard to say. We lost a little bit of the straightway. I think it is different from last year because the chicane will only two curbs instead of three, so will be a little quicker, because you lost a lot of momentum behind the car. You lost the front wing. I don’t know. We debated this morning also that without the chicane, that bump at the end of the back straightaway, going into (turn) one, was huge for us. We debated on if we didn’t have the chicane, if we were going to be able to make the pass because we were running 10 miles-an-hour faster into turn one than we do now. I think it will be a pretty good possibility to pass with the chicane, the way it is done right now. They are going to open up the wall a little bit more, so it might be even quicker. I think Beaux (Barfield, IndyCar race director) was saying this morning, that was a quick fix, but they can actually open the walls a little bit like they did last year so they will make the curb so we can use the curb. I think you will see passing for sure. I didn’t think it was a bad race last year anyway in terms of passing.”

IS THIS A GOOD TRACK? ARE DRIVERS NOT HAPPY? “I didn’t get that sense through us to be honest with you. We had a major problem this morning, and that had to be addressed. But other than that… Is it bumpy? Yes. It was bumpy last year. It is part of street and road courses that we go to at times. I think it was a great race last year. I still think so. It is my opinion. Is it rough? Yes, but that adds to it. That adds to the setup of the car, and adds to the skill of the driver.”

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. PPG AUTOMOTIVE REFINISHES TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – 14TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “This track is brutal, really a physical bumpy course, but we knew that coming in after last year’s race. Overall the No.2 PPG machine performed well this afternoon and my guys did a great job making late notice changes to the car as decisions with the track were being made. Whatever the final track decisions are heading into qualifying, I know I’m going to have good car under me and we’ll be ready to compete.”

JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET – 15TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “It was a little bit of a hectic first day, but you know we got a little bit of time out on the track and there was a lot of traffic. I think we could probably find four or five tenths just by putting a lap together. But in general the car feels really good. The track is definitely rough; to me it seems rougher than last year. Half the track has been repaved so that part is really smooth, but the other half is super rough. That will definitely be something that we have to continue to keep an eye on as we move forward because with the engines being under a little higher stress that could raise some issues with performance. They’ve got some fixes to make over night with the race track but we’ll come back with guns blazing tomorrow.”

MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM DR. PEPPER ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – 18TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “I never had a lot of consecutive laps and here you need laps to develop a rhythm, so I never was in a rhythm for Practice 2. Lap time will come from a rhythm. Once we get the track to where we’re going to keep it, we can start working on getting faster.”

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – 24TH IN 2ND PRACTICE: “At least we all got a bit of the session this afternoon. It turned out okay in the second session despite the bit of cluster that was this morning. As the drivers mentioned to INDYCAR, we didn’t want the chicane from last year. We thought we could go straight over the railroad tracks and we tried it this morning. But it didn’t work. We all sat down and discussed it. We came up with a temporary solution for today and we’ll get a better setup for tomorrow with the chicane. It was good to get a normal session after everything was so abnormal this morning. We still have a lot of work to do, but I feel like we are in position to move up the grip a bit in qualifying.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing: