Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Tristan Vautier led a Honda-powered sweep of the top five positions in IZOD IndyCar Series practice Friday on the 2.04-mile Camden Yards temporary street circuit in downtown Baltimore, in preparation for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Baltimore.

Tristan Vautier, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Tristan Vautier, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Photo by: Brad Fox

Vautier is an IndyCar rookie this season, but won the Indy Lights race here last year en route to the 2012 Indy Lights championship. Graham Rahal, who qualified second and finished 10th here in 2012, recorded the second-quickest overall time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Josef Newgarden posted the third-quickest time in his first IndyCar appearance in Baltimore. The second-year driver missed last year’s event after breaking a finger in a crash at the previous weekend’s race in Sonoma, California. Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Vautier’s teammate, Simon Pagenaud, rounded out the top five for Honda.

Activities on the Baltimore street circuit continue Saturday with final practice, followed by qualifying at 12 p.m. EDT. Sunday’s 75-lap race, the 16th round in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series, starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Tristan Vautier (#55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Dallara) quickest in practice Friday: "The weekend has started very well for us. It’s been very special; it just keeps going faster and faster for us. I don’t know, I just love this place.

But I think it’s going to be about continuing to improve, because everyone else is going to keep improving, and it’s always very hard to put everything together at just the right time. So, I have to keep focused and keep executing really well to stay up front.”