Andretti Autosport press release
SLIPPERY TRACK CONDITIONS HAMPER ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT DRIVERS FRIDAY IN INFINEON RACEWAY PRACTICE RUNS
SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 26, 2011) - It wasn't an easy day for the Andretti Autosport drivers in the first practice round Friday at the beautiful Infineon Raceway, site of Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Bright sunshine and a steady wind proved a tricky combination in the afternoon practice session on the 2.3-mile, 12-turn road course north of San Francisco. The slippery track surface was difficult to reach a good grip level for the four Andretti machines.
New Hampshire winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, the hottest racer on the tour for the past four events, piloted the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car to the 12th fastest in the 28-driver field Friday with a time of one minute, 20.563 seconds for an average speed of 102.910 miles per hour. Hunter-Reay, now eighth in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings after a slow start on the 17-race trail, has reached the podium in three of the last four races and seeks to vault into the top-five by season's end.
Marco Andretti, the winner at Iowa Speedway this year, recorded the 15th best speed Friday in the No. 26 Team All Natural Snapple machine with a clocking of 1:20.670 and a speed of 102.774 m.p.h. Long Beach winner Mike Conway notched the 18th fastest in the No. 27 Team @FollowAndretti entry with a 1:20.723 and a speed of 102.706.
Team GoDaddy.com driver Danica Patrick, one of only five drivers to compete in all six IndyCar Series races at Infineon Raceway previously, suffered through a frustrating day with the 26th best time at 1:21.634 and a speed 101.560.
Practice is scheduled for Saturday at 1:50 p.m. EDT with the first qualifying round set for 5:35 p.m. EDT. The qualifying session on Saturday will be televised at 6 p.m. EDT on Versus TV.
Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, a 75-lap contest, will get underway at 4:45 p.m. EDT. The Versus telecast begins at 4 p.m. EDT.
MARCO ANDRETTI, #26 TEAM ALL NATURAL SNAPPLE CAR Finished practice in P15
"The conditions weren't as good as we thought they would be today. The track just seemed slippery and we couldn't get the grip we would have liked. I know that was the case for all four of our cars today. This place is always tricky with the surface. We'll work hard overnight to get the improvements that we need. We'll get everyone together and study the problems. I think the Snapple car will be better on Saturday."
MIKE CONWAY, #27 TEAM @FOLLOWANDRETTI CAR Ended practice in 18th position
"We improved the car at the end of the session. We made a couple of changes that seemed to help the handling. But we still need to find some time. We can't seem to get the grip that we need right now. We'll look over our setups tonight and be ready for the morning practice on Saturday."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #28 TEAM DHL/ CIRCLE K/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CAR Finished practice in P12
"It was a pretty challenging first day for us. We'll have to change a lot of the settings for Saturday. It was different from last week's test. We felt the car was okay last week. That wasn't the case today. Just overall lack of grip in the Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car. But I think we can turn it around for Saturday."
DANICA PATRICK, #7 TEAM GoDaddy.com CAR Ended the session in P26
"It was a frustrating day for the GoDaddy.com team. We will go over all of our data tonight and look for an improved setup on Saturday. I didn't test here last week due to my NASCAR race in Montreal. But I have finished in the top-ten here several times. So I think we can get the proper setup for practice and qualifying."