Unseasonably warm weather is working against HVM Racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend. The team came to the track armed with data from a spring test session at the South Florida track, but a drastic difference in temperatures is forcing the crews to change their set-up approach to Saturday's Homestead-Miami Indy 300. After a day of practice and tweaking Friday, E.J. Viso qualified the No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing Honda Dallara in the 18th position, and Robert Doornbos qualified the No. 33 HVM Racing Honda Dallara in 22nd.
Doornbos was the first car on the track in the qualifying session, with the late-afternoon sun giving drivers a preview of race conditions for Saturday's 5 p.m. race. He reached an average speed of 207.352 miles per hour with a total lap time of 1:43.1288. Viso went out a short time later in the sixth slot and ran a four-lap average of 209.773 and a total lap time of 1:41.9386.
Both cars improved their pace in qualifying over the earlier practice sessions and the team will work to pick up that pace even more for Saturday's green flag. Watch the Homestead-Miami Indy 300 on Versus Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
Comments from HVM Racing Team Principal and Owner Keith Wiggins after qualifying at Homestead:
"The team has been working hard since we got here on the set-up for this track and these conditions and to try to set a good pace. We're making progress and we'll keep working to have the most competitive cars we can for tomorrow's race."
Comments from PDVSA HVM Racing Driver E.J. Viso after qualifying at Homestead:
"Homestead is special for me because it's the first track I touched when I came over from Europe to do IndyCar, and it's always good to come back to a place you have a good memory of.
"The expectations were high. We tested at the beginning of the season, so we had a lot of data to work with. But unfortunately today is a lot hotter than when we tested -- it's over 40 degrees hotter -- so that data is not helping much. Today we had a rough start of the day but we were able to improve the car a bit. For qualifying we even made the car a little bit faster than we thought we would.
"Tomorrow is going to be a long day and my race craft as a driver needs to be very complete. Pits stops, strategy, everything needs to be good, and I think we can achieve a Top 10."
Comments from HVM Racing Driver Robert Doornbos after qualifying at Homestead:
"It's a bit frustrating. We're obviously not where we want to be. I'm going flat out, but it's not enough. We'll see what kind of work we can do."