HUNTER-REAY, CONWAY BREAK TOP FIVE IN BALTIMORE PRACTICE FOR ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT
BALTIMORE (Sept. 2, 2011) - A little delay in the track preparation at the streets of Baltimore didn't slow Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway Friday in practice runs for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, set for the new event on Sunday, Sept. 4.
The first-ever racing event at the inner harbor area of Baltimore made a late start due to track construction but the large crowd's wait was well worth it with a late afternoon practice session by the 28 drivers in IZOD IndyCar Series. The late street closings and barrier movement forced the construction crews to delay the first car (USF2000) on track at approximately 1.30 p.m. EDT. The IndyCar Series hit the streets at 4:30 p.m. for a 75-minute practice.
Hunter-Reay, the New Hampshire race winner, posted the fourth best time in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda entry with time of one minute, 22.602 seconds for an average speed of 88.908 miles per hour. Will Power was the fastest Friday at 89.411 m.p.h. Long Beach champion Conway was consistently in the top-four for most of the 75-minute period in his new No. 27 Team Buffalo Wild Wings car and secured the fifth fastest speed of the day at 88.775 with a best of 1:22.725 over the 2.0-mile, 13-turn circuit built near the picturesque Maryland harbor area. Conway got his first experience to compete on Conway St., the back straightaway of the street circuit.
The Baltimore Grand Prix course features drivers negotiating through streets which include four major hotels, the Baltimore Convention Center and the famed Camden Yards ball park.
Marco Andretti, the Iowa winner, drove the No. 26 Team All Natural Snapple machine to 16th Friday with best time of 1:23.7814 and a speed of 87.657 m.p.h. Danica Patrick took the No. 7 Team GoDaddy mount to 24th with a speed of 86.911.
Qualifying is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. Sunday's inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix will begin at 2:45 p.m. and will be televised live on Versus TV.
MARCO ANDRETTI, #26 TEAM ALL NATURAL SNAPPLE CAR
Finished in the 16th position
"It's a lot of fun out there - I had a great time driving the Snapple car, but we are still struggling a bit. We'll put our heads together, make some changes and hopefully improve before qualifying tomorrow."
MIKE CONWAY, #27 TEAM BUFFALO WILD WINGS CAR
"The track is pretty cool. It's very tight and twisty and you have to be careful through some sectors. It's hard to get the car dialed in but all in all the Buffalo Wild Wings car has been pretty good today. We'll keep working on the car and dial it in for qualifying tomorrow."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #28 TEAM DHL/CIRCLE K/ SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CAR
Ended the session in the fourth position
"It was a tough practice session to get a rhythm on because it was interrupted so much by yellows. But we're fourth right now and I think we have a pretty good starting point for the DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car. Hopefully tomorrow we'll make the usual steps that we do on street courses and keep moving forward."
DANICA PATRICK, #7 TEAM GoDaddy.com CAR
"The most important thing for me with tracks like this is making sure you are comfortable with the car. I was getting more comfortable as practice went on but the GoDaddy car is not where I want to be. It just takes me a while to really learn a new track and it's hard when you've only had one practice session. Thankfully we have one more practice before we qualify tomorrow."