Watkins Glen: Series Friday practice report

BRISCOE PACES OPENING PRACTICE AT WATKINS GLEN WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Friday, July 2, 2010) - Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe topped the time chart as IZOD IndyCar Series teams began preparations for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen. The ...

BRISCOE PACES OPENING PRACTICE AT WATKINS GLEN

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Friday, July 2, 2010) - Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe topped the time chart as IZOD IndyCar Series teams began preparations for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen.

The Australian driver, who has won the last two pole positions at the 3.4-mile road course, set a fast lap of 1 minute, 31.4142 seconds (132.714 mph) in the No. 6 Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara. His teammate Helio Castroneves was second at 1:31.4974 (132.594), while Scott Dixon, a three-time winner at The Glen, was third at 1:31.6781 (132.333).

Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon (1:31.7830) was fourth with defending race winner Justin Wilson, driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, was fifth (1:31.8628). In all, 11 drivers were within .9974 of a second of Briscoe.

PEAK Performance Pole Qualifying for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. (EDT) on July 3. The Firestone Indy Lights will also be on track for the first time.

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

Newman/Haas Racing driver Hideki Mutoh took advantage of the week off between the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 20 and this event to make his second trip to Japan since the season started.

HIDEKI MUTOH: "I was able to go to Japan for six days since we had a weekend off. It always feels good to go home to see my family and friends. We just hung out and relaxed. I didn't go crazy, crazy."

***

Team Penske has started from the pole position in all five previous IZOD IndyCar Series races at Watkins Glen International (Helio Castroneves in 2005, 2006, 2007 and Ryan Briscoe in 2008 and 2009).

Though the team has fared well in qualifying at The Glen, it has not been able to produce a race victory.

Additionally, Team Penske is riding a series-record streak of seven consecutive earned poles. It includes poles won by all three drivers (Will Power - 4, Briscoe - 2, Castroneves - 1) and poles at all types of tracks (road courses, street circuits, short oval, 1.5-mile oval and superspeedway).

***

In five races at Watkins Glen International, Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers have claimed three wins, five top-five finishes, six top-10 finishes and have led 72 of 295 total laps. Scott Dixon won the first three IZOD IndyCar Series races at the track, from 2005-07.

MIKE HULL (Managing director, Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The Glen is a pure driver's track. Technical drivers excel at Watkins Glen as they find the balance for an entire lap. That's what makes it fun at TCGR because Dario (Franchitti) and Scott make every lap better than the last."

***

Adam Carroll, 27, who led Team Ireland to the A1GP World Cup of Motorsports championship in 2008-09, will compete in his first IZOD IndyCar Series race this weekend.

Carroll, a former winner in GP2, will drive the No. 27 Team Boost Mobile entry fielded by AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport.

ADAM CARROLL: "The thing I have to do is impress when I get the opportunity. I've been given the chance, and that's all I want."

***

IZOD IndyCar Series technical information for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen:

Honda overtake assist

Overtake assist was introduced to the series in August 2009 and will make its Watkins Glen International debut for IZOD IndyCar Series cars.

The system employed by Honda Performance Development is an ECU software alteration. It is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 RPM (about 10 horsepower) to the Honda Indy V-8 engine. Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout.

For Watkins Glen:

12 uses

22 seconds duration for each use

10-second recharge period between uses

LES MACTAGGART (Senior technical director, Indy Racing League): "It's to provide the driver, if they're already making a passing maneuver, an additional tool to complete the pass or to defend a maneuver. It provides the teams options, which they have to choose how they're going to run the race, so it brings more strategy from a team aspect."

Firestone Firehawk tires

Each car receives six sets (24 tires) of primary tires and three sets (12 tires) of the alternate (red-sidewall) tires. Both the primary and alternate specifications were used in 2009 at Watkins Glen International.

The primary spec is Firestone Racing's most durable road course compound and construction, designed to withstand the high speeds encountered on the IZOD IndyCar Series' longest permanent road course. The alternate tires are identical in construction to the primaries, but contain a softer tread compound that will provide more grip and faster lap times, yet will trade off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages.

AL SPEYER (Executive director, Firestone Racing): "Firestone Racing engineers have opted to return to Watkins Glen with the same primary and alternate tires that produced a thrilling race last year. The primary spec is the hardest tire in our road/street course arsenal, and the alternate tire is about mid-range in our lineup, so there is quite a bit of differentiation between the two specs. Over the length of this picturesque road course, that difference in grip and durability can really add up to varying lap times."

Aero package

Watkins Glen is in the road course/short oval category of aero packages for the IZOD IndyCar Series. Here are mandatory and optional items for teams:

Rear wings: Tire ramps and sidepod extensions are optional.

Front wings: Wing flaps are an open development area. A maximum of two elements per side is permitted, and a divider is mandatory.

***

The iconic motorsports name Lotus is back at Watkins Glen this weekend, as IZOD IndyCar Series rookie Takuma Sato is driving the No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology car painted in the marque's famed green-and-yellow livery.

Lotus recorded seven United States Grand Prix victories at The Glen, with Innes Ireland capturing the first F1 race at the track in 1961. 1965 Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Clark took the checkered flag for Lotus in 1962, 1966 and 1967 at The Glen, with Jochen Rindt in 1969, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi in 1970 and Ronnie Peterson in 1973 also winning at The Glen for Lotus.

***

Andretti Autosport teammates Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay met with the media this afternoon. Hunter-Reay won this event in 2008 driving for Rahal Letterman Racing.

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): (About wearing long-sleeved black T-shirt): "We lost a game today, so I'm wearing black. Brazil lost the game. No, this is to keep me warm."

(About team chemistry and returning to Watkins Glen): "For me, it's fun. I always respect Ryan as a driver. To come at a racetrack where I've never won, and he did … we took a track walk, and I asked him to give me some secrets. The chemistry has been great so far this year, for sure. This is teamwork. Although when a driver wins, we're the only ones who get credit. If you don't have a team behind you, you're nowhere. Those guys, they work really hard all week long. And then on the weekend, they work even harder. They're passionate about what they do. They spend more time with us than they do with their own families. It's important to treat your guys nice, like more than mechanics. They can build you a car to make you go fast, but they also can build you a car that can make you go slow."

(About 2012 engine and chassis specifications): "I like the variety. For the series to grow, on the chassis and engine, you're bringing in the competition. We saw that back in the good old days. When Toyota came in, they got four extra teams that couldn't afford to race. We're going to add more teams to the series. I'm all in favor of it. Competition is healthy. Right now it's great that we have a great car and a great engine. But competition will raise everyone's game and add cars to the series."

(About adding more short ovals to the schedule): "I'm not saying let's go to an oval series. I love street and road courses. When you go there to some of the big ovals we go, you're along for the ride. You can't make a difference. It's more about the equipment. Those races can be less, and we can add more like New Hampshire, Milwaukee, Phoenix. The crowds get more excited because you see more passes. From my preference, I would like to see more short ovals."

(About the Honda overtake system): "It makes racing a lot more interesting. With only 12 (presses at Watkins Glen), you've got to be really careful. It can play out, the fuel is so close right now. If you have three or four more than the guy in front of you, and he has none, you probably can win the race by having that extra push to pass."

RYAN HUNTER REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): (About his victory in 2008 at Watkins Glen): "It was a great finish at the time. It was breakthrough win for me. On Fourth of July weekend, an American guy, it all kind of lined up. It's the perfect race for us to have on the Fourth of July. Towns like these are the heart of America. I love this place."

(About the pressure of not having a full-season sponsor): "It definitely weighs on you, and it has since the first race of the season. I remember going to Brazil, flying there, thinking, "This could only be the first three or four races of the season, and that's it." I'm with a great team with great people. I'd rather be here, going race to race, rather than have a full, locked-down season at some of the other places. I think good things will happen. We just have to stay optimistic. Hopefully it will be sooner than later."

(About competitive nature of IZOD IndyCar Series) "First, it comes down to the competitiveness of the series. This is the most competition the IRL has had, period, especially on road courses. It's been borderline ridiculous. If you lock a right-front (tire) somewhere in qualifying on your best lap, it could mean (losing) eight spots. It's nailing it all. Getting in the ballpark three or four years ago would put you in the top five. Now getting in the ballpark will put you in the top 15."

(About 2012 engine and chassis specifications): "There are two ways of looking at competition. As a series, we need to have competition among manufacturers. As a driver, I love the fact we have Honda right now and I'm positive that my engine isn't going to blow in Turn 1 at Indy. Or when I'm setting up for a pass for the win on a road course, I love knowing that the guy ahead of me isn't going to have an extra 5 mph on the front straightaway or that I'm not going to have extra torque coming off the corner."

(About the Honda overtake system): "It's kind of the same thing everywhere you use it. It's for offense and defense. With the long straights here, it's definitely going to come into play, and that's the purpose of it. It's going to come down to how you manage the pushes. You need to save them for when you need them. That's the hard part."

***

Paul Tracy will compete in the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen in the No. 24 Honda Indy Toronto/DRR car for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

Tracy had previously announced that he would drive in the Canadian races in July -- the Honda Indy Toronto and Honda Indy Edmonton.

2003 Champ Car World Series champion Tracy will make his ninth IZOD IndyCar Series start and his second at Watkins Glen International. He is one of the most successful drivers in Indy car racing with 31 career victories.

Tracy will fill in for the injured Mike Conway at The Glen. Decisions have not been made on a driver for other races as Conway convalesces in the United Kingdom.

PAUL TRACY: "It's obviously a good feeling to get more races, especially being able to race at The Glen and building up momentum before going into the Canadian events. It's also great to have the support of Honda Indy Toronto and Motegi Racing for this race, as well. I'm really excited about working with Robbie Buhl again and to get to work with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. I've known Robbie from our early days in racing back when we competed against each other in the Indy Lights series. It's very exciting to branch out with another team I haven't been with before, and I'm looking forward to a good weekend."

ROBBIE BUHL (Co-owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "We are very happy to have Paul drive for us. He's a great driver and a big personality, and we are thrilled to have him driving for us in Watkins Glen. We were extremely strong there last year and with Paul's racing experience and him being teamed up with Justin Wilson, we feel that we'll have an extremely strong package for the weekend. We obviously wish that Mike could be with us, but we just want him to have a quick recovery. Paul was a perfect fit and we couldn't be happier to have him behind the wheel."

***

James Winslow and the No. 77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports team will return to Firestone Indy Lights for the Corning 100 at Watkins Glen International, team officials announced.

In three starts this season, Winslow has a best finish of seventh in St. Petersburg, though it's not the most accurate reflection of his talent.

Winslow's No. 77 Focal Point/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car is the same chassis and crew that Wade Cunningham used when he won Schmidt's fifth Firestone Freedom 100 title back in May. Focal Point Lighting, a company out of Chicago, will serve as the primary sponsor of the car.

JAMES WINSLOW: "I'm excited to get back into the car. I haven't raced since April, so the almost three-month break has me itching to get back out there. The team overall has done a great job in my absence, but I'd love to get back out there and contribute some great results for the organization and for myself."

***

The six Brazilian drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series - Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Raphael Matos, Vitor Meira, Mario Moraes and Mario Romancini - watched the World Cup quarterfinal match between Brazil and The Netherlands at the APEX-Brasil hospitality area this morning at the track. The Netherlands ralled from an early 1-0 deficit to win, 2-1.

The drivers each supported their home team by playing vuvuzelas - the plastic horns that have become the audio hallmark of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - decorated with IZOD IndyCar Series logos. Castroneves and Romancini wore Brazil jerseys to the gathering.

Photos of the Brazilian drivers watching the match and playing vuvuzelas are available at the IZOD IndyCar Series media site, indycar.com/media.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: "It's sad to be away from my home country, but at least we have a little bit of Brazil here at the racetrack, and we're all together."

TONY KANAAN: "Right now, nobody (in Brazil) is working. As a culture, that's what we grew up watching - soccer and racing - so it's a big deal. We've been home for a couple of weeks (since racing June 20 at Iowa Speedway), so I've been watching a lot."

***

Panther Racing's "Hometown Hero" for the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen is New York National Guard Sgt. John Adam Brois III, who joined the U.S. Army in July of 1995 as a 13B Cannon Crewmember and attended Basic Training at Fort Sill, Okla. After being honorably discharged from active service in December 1997, he enlisted in the New York National Guard in 2001 with the 1/108th Infantry in Hornell, N.Y.

Brois served at Ground Zero after the terrorist attack Sept. 11, 2001 and spent many months on bridge and tunnel duty following the disaster. He also volunteered to go to Iraq in October 2004 for a year-long deployment in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he joined Echo troop 2/101 Cavalry from Geneva, N.Y.

Brois currently is the Mortar Platoon Sergeant with A troop 2/101 cavalry (formally Echo troop) and employed by the Steuben Country Sheriff's Department as a corrections officer with nine years of service.

As part of his "Hometown Hero" honors, Brois will attend the IZOD IndyCar Series autograph session Saturday afternoon, where he will sign a specialty-made "Hero Card" featuring his picture and biography on one side and Wheldon's on the other. He also will be honored by Panther CEO John Barnes on Sunday before the race and then will be recognized on the pre-race stage before the start of the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen.

***

AFS Racing has become the co-entrant of Andretti Autosport's No. 27 IZOD IndyCar Series car, driven by series newcomer Adam Carroll, at this race and the Honda Indy 200 presented by Westfield Insurance on Aug. 8 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport pairing has enjoyed success together in the past, winning the past two Firestone Indy Lights championships, and is seeking an unprecedented third title in 2010 with another two-car effort. AFS/Andretti also joined forces for an IZOD IndyCar Series entry last season at Infineon Raceway for driver Franck Montagny.

Carroll, who dominated the 2009 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season on the way to a series championship, will debut the entry this weekend at Watkins Glen under the banner of Team Boost Mobile. Carroll's season will then continue at Mid-Ohio with primary sponsorship from AFS, one of the nation's largest multi-family automatic fire sprinkler contractors.

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, with its Snapple brand, and Inland Industrial Services Group also will serve as associate sponsors of Carroll's upcoming races.

GARY PETERSON (Owner, AFS Racing): "This is a good step for AFS Racing, and we're looking forward to working directly with a great, young talent like Adam Carroll. He tested well at Mid-Ohio this week, and we're excited to work with him at these two events. AFS Racing would like to make a move to the IZOD IndyCar level at some point in the future, and this is a good step in that direction."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (President and chief executive officer, Andretti Autosport): "AFS Racing and Andretti Autosport have enjoyed a lot of success together, and this effort will hopefully be more of the same. This is good for us as it helps us take our IZOD IndyCar Series program closer to where we want it to be, and it enables Gary to take further steps toward his goal of competing full time at the IZOD IndyCar Series level."

IZOD INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE QUOTES:

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, first): "I think we topped the first session last year. I'd like to keep things going the way we had it last year. We ended up with pole and ran second in the race. I'd just like to see myself in contention for the win. This is my favorite track on the calendar, and it would be pretty special to win here."

(About return to road courses after four consecutive oval races): "I wasn't that happy with my first stint of the season on the road courses. I only got the one podium at St. Pete. I really want to improve on what I did in the first four rounds in the next five here. I know it's a lot different coming off the ovals, but I really want to carry that momentum I got from Texas and Iowa and bring that here to Watkins Glen."

(Why is Watkins Glen your favorite track?): "Just the track itself. It's awesome. It's so fast. The corners are just fast. It grips up a lot. This is a track where we can get the most out of these Indy cars, really just get everything out of them they have."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, second): "It's great for Team Penske to start on the right track with the setup. There's still a long way to go. The track is getting better and better, but having a good base and solid setup helps you improve the car with each change. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a good day for us, too, and the car will get better and better."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, third): "We made about three runs, and the car had pretty good speed. I messed up on two of my quick laps, and I think there are two- or three-tenths in it, which puts us right in the ballpark. For a first attempt on the first run, I think both of the Team Target cars are pretty good."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, sixth): "That was a good starting session, although we did not anticipate all the yellow flags. I would have liked to have a few more laps, but we have a good read on the Verizon car and plenty to think about overnight. We are in good shape for tomorrow."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP Luczo Dragon, eighth): "We had a pretty good session today. We found more speed as the session continued. I think there is even more we can do to improve the car, and hopefully we'll continue to build on our progress. The test in Mid-Ohio earlier this week really helped guide us for this track."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, 13th): "It was good to get back on a road course, but it was weird at first. The steering is straight now, which is good, and we are turning right and left again. It's a different approach, definitely. I needed the first two outings to adapt to road course racing again. Still, I will improve as I get more track time. We had planned to test many different things but were only able to try one of the things but made some improvements. The track is slower than last year, for some reason. It was hard to get a good understanding of how we were doing because of the yellows and the track being slower than last year."

DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing, fourth): "I'm always excited to come to Watkins Glen because it's one of my favorite tracks and certainly my favorite road-course track. I was certainly excited to get here, and we built a lot on what we learned here last year. The National Guard Panther Racing car was really good here last year. We just got caught out a bit on strategy, but the pace of the car during the race was really good. And like I've said, we've just been able to expand upon that, and that's a really good sign for the continuity of the team and coming back to these racetracks for the second time. I'm looking forward to a good weekend."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co. A.J. Foyt Racing, 22nd): "This first session we did a lot of changes but couldn't take advantage fully of the changes because of traffic, but we did understand the changes. So we'll analyze the data tonight to come up with the best solutions. We couldn't put a decent time down, but we went through a lot of things and made improvements for tomorrow."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com, 17th): "I'm having some understeer issues throughout the course, but I think we know what we need to do to get the GoDaddy car up to speed. We'll fine-tune some things tonight and should be on course for tomorrow's practice."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team7-Eleven, ninth): "The session was not as clear as I wanted it to be, so we're going to have to try something different tomorrow with the 7-Eleven car. I'm definitely not as happy as I was hoping to be, but this is only Friday."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD, 12th): "We had a session where we just never really got in sequence. We had lots of traffic and interrupted runs from yellows. We only really did one good run. Then we had to stop early because of a little issue we were concerned about and missed the last 10 minutes when we needed to be on track. Today is definitely not indicative of where we are with the IZOD car, but it's also hard to go to sleep after a session like that. We'll come out tomorrow and be quick, but we would have liked to have gotten more out of this session. We just never got into a rhythm."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy, 11th): "We had some mechanical issues today with the Venom car, so we only got one true run in. But that considered, we don't have a bad baseline car. I think as a team we have some work to do; we're a bit off pace."

ADAM CARROLL (No. 27 Team Boost Mobile, 23rd): "It is my first time here at Watkins Glen. It's a beautiful circuit and reminds me of Spa-Francorchamps in Europe. It's actually a very difficult circuit but very enjoyable. Generally, I didn't push too hard this session. I just went out early to learn the circuit and try to get up to speed. I know what I need to do with the No. 27 Boost Mobile car, and hopefully we can do well in qualifying tomorrow."

E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KVRT, 14th): "We had a couple of issues that were out of our hands. I got caught in some traffic and didn't get a quick lap. Plus we got our fastest laps at the end of the runs. We have a few things to fine-tune for Saturday. But we have a good direction with the car. I have always liked coming to Watkins Glen. This track reminds me of circuits in Europe with very fast corners. I think we'll be in better shape tomorrow."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, 21st): "I don't want to judge the results on today, as we will be much better tomorrow. We were trying new things on the car and getting laps for me around the track to get to know it and to get an idea of what I want. There were very few laps for me to get used to the track and to see what the car liked at this track, but that is OK. We have some very good data to look at tonight, and there were a couple of things to modify where we went for it and it didn't work. Another big part is also for me, getting into a rhythm around the track and getting used to the track. Tomorrow should be a much better day, and we will attack it with confidence. It's always good to sleep on it and start again tomorrow. It was a shame the weather kept us from testing here, as that made today our test day. But that's OK; we can manage to recover. We'll have a much better day tomorrow, for sure."

MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology, 10th): "Overall, the KV Racing Technology team had a good day. The car felt good, but we are still a little behind the leaders. We will change some things tonight and see how that works tomorrow. I feel great to be back on the road courses again and hope we have a good weekend."

***

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
6 a.m. Garages open
8-8:45 a.m. Firestone Indy Lights practice
9:05-10:05 a.m. IZOD IndyCar Series practice
11:10-11:55 a.m. Firestone Indy Lights practice
1:15-2:45 p.m. PEAK Performance Pole Qualifying and Firestone Fast 6 for IZOD IndyCar Series
3-3:45 p.m. Sunoco Pole Qualifying for Firestone Indy Lights

***

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues July 4 with the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Corning 100 on July 4 at the Watkins Glen International.

-source: irl

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Takuma Sato , Justin Wilson , Franck Montagny , Robbie Buhl , Helio Castroneves , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Sam Schmidt , Jim Clark , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Emerson Fittipaldi , Adam Carroll , Chip Ganassi , Mike Conway , Will Power , Wade Cunningham , Ronnie Peterson , Mario Moraes , James Winslow , Hideki Mutoh , John Barnes , A.J. Foyt , Mario Romancini , Vitor Meira , Jochen Rindt
Teams Andretti Autosport , Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing , KV Racing Technology , FAZZT Race Team