Team Chevy 1 -2 in Friday practice at Sonoma Raceway

SONOMA, Calif (August 24, 2012) – Team Penske Chevrolet teammates Will Power and Ryan Briscoe paced the Friday practice session for the IZOD IndyCar Series at Sonoma Raceway. Power showed the way, turning the fastest lap of the 27 entrants for Sunday’s GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, with a time of 01:18.6887 at an average speed of 109.114 m.p.h. Briscoe laid down the second quickest lap of the day.

Also in the top-10 fastest in the session were the Chevrolet-powered cars driven by Rubens Barrichello, Sebastien Bourdais, Marco Andretti and Sebastian Saavedra. A total of 15 Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers participated in the first practice session on the 2.385-mile, 13-turn road course.


“I think the fact that other cars have been running around made it a bit better. Definitely was tough when we first went out. I think the track was dusty, and the lap times were a little bit slower than what we did in the test. So, it is good for us. We are going to do a little study overnight and get ourselves in a good position for qualifying. It is coming down to the nitty-gritty now, so its about getting everything right. That is what we are working on.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE BRAKING ZONE IN TURN 11 GOING TO BE IN MAKING PASSES IN THE RACE? “I don’t think you will make a pass. They’ve made it too fast in the chicane which makes it harder to pass. But, it may make it easier to get a run on someone for (turn) 11. It’s a more fun corner. It is a cool corner now especially now that they have added even more curb.”

HOW TREACHEROUS IS IT UP IN THE (TURN) 3A? “That was tough, 3A. I had a couple of cross-up moments. Immediately 2009 flashed in my head. I don’t want to spin there. Everyone else is saying about it to. It is more difficult, but it is actually the wind direction at the moment that has made it more difficult over the top there. It is hard, man. It is fast, and it’s hard. It’s blind. You have the compression, then you have un-compression as you go to the top of the Lift. I bet you saw a lot of people hanging it out.”

THE ANDRETTI BOYS SAY THIS IS A PENSKE TRACK. IS THERE THAT MUCH DIFFERENCE TO THE SETUP OF THE CAR WITH THE CHANGES THEY HAVE MADE TO THE LAYOUT? “Yes, a little bit. It’s actually not massive. The biggest thing is it is a different car. It is a different engine, a different car so the setup is different from the last two years just because of that. We’ve been successful here. It’s funny that sometimes a team just happens to click with a track. I don’t know if it is a philosophy thing or why that is, but we’ve definitely had good success here”

ARE YOU HAPPIER WITH THE PUSH-TO-PASS WITH THE SHORTER DELAY? “Well, I wasn’t a fan before, because the way it would work, you would switch it on five seconds before. As you went through a corner, if you lifted more than 70%, it switches itself off. So, you’d switch it on and it would switch itself off. You keep doing that, and not understand if it was working, not working. They made some adjustments to that, it should be better. I understand what they are doing. I think it is a good idea. They keep trying things. I think it was good from the beginning anyway with the just on or off because I think with the time that they gave you; the amount of boost of that they gave you –either 80 seconds or 100 seconds polices itself. You can’t just continually defend and use all your time up because you are going to get passed at the end of a race. I think that just takes care of itself and you really don’t need a delay. But, either which way, I’m fine with it.”

WHAT ARE YOU FEELING IN THE CAR TODAY THAT MADE YOU BETTER THAN LAST FRIDAY AT THE TEST? WHERE YOU ABLE TO SPEND TIME ON QUALIFYING LINES? “Yes, I did actually. I went away and had a good look at where I was struggling. The track was really different today anyway. The fact that all the cars had run and laying rubber, it was just a different track. I think when you have a test day, the whole day, people go out at different time, some times it is a little bit confusing. We’ll see tomorrow. We know that those cars are really fast. We expect it to be very tight in qualifying like it has been every race this year.”

“It is great to be here at Sonoma. It is definitely one of my favorite races on the calendar. The car is feeling strong out there at the moment. We tested last weekend and the wind was coming from the top of the track in turn seven down to turn 11, and today, and I think for the rest of the weekend, it is expected to be the way it is today, going the other way. It changes completely how the car balance is around the circuit. It really is incredible. You just have to find your braking points. Corners that were good last week, and bad, are not completely reversed. It is a whole new learning curve, but it is good. It was the same last year. The wind the wind was going one way, and we sort of knew what to expect going into practice. The changes feel good. I was following Sato when we were doing a long run, I was definitely tempted to test out a couple of the new passing zones, and throw it down there. But, that was probably going to be a bit over zealous for the first practice. (Laughs). I think it is going to lend itself to some really good racing, definitely up in turn seven. The racing lane is so wide on the entry, and it is such a slow corner that even if you are not right on the guy, I think it is definitely going to be tempting to go down the inside and see if it sticks. It’s good. They put a new curve in turn nine which is really has made that corner fast. Faster than it was at the test. It feels pretty nice. I didn’t see anybody cutting through the dirt, which always used to be a problem. All-in-all, it’s pretty good.”

DID IT HELP YOU WITH THE TRACK WHEN YOU WERE OUT HERE MAKING LAPS IN THE CAMARO A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO? “No. It was good. I came out a couple of weeks ago, and it was fun. I did a couple of laps in the new ZL1 Camaro, which all of you should get one if you can, it’s an awesome car. I’m glad my IndyCar is not as loose as that thing was, because it was pretty tail-happy.”

YOU SAID THAT YOU THOUGHT TURN SEVEN WAS GOING TO BE JUST ABOUT AS EXCITING AS BRAZIL, ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING CORNERS IN THE SERIES. DO YOU STILL THINK THAT IS GOING TO BE TRUE THIS WEEKEND? “Yes, I think so. You are still coming off a very fast and technical corner of the carousel. I think you are going to want to have to set guys up. You are going to want to have a good run off of (turn) six to have a good run up there. As I was saying before, when it comes down to it, you can definitely risk going down the inside and overshooting the corner and seeing if it sticks because there is just so much room; so much runoff area that is all paved, it is a pretty low-risk area to overshoot the corner at. I think that is going to provide some good racing.”

THERE SEEM TO BE SEVERAL DIFFERENT LINES IN TURN 11, IS THAT YOUR OBSERVATION? “Yes. (Turn) 11 is really tough. It is so wide. It’s good that the track hasn’t really defined a racing line that we have to do. When we first came, they had put some bollards on the outside, and it made it really tight. Everyone ended up doing the same speed, the exact same racing line. Now there is variation. I see cars that are better running wider on the exit. Some are doing a tighter line. There are some bumps there. It’s definitely difficult and very technical.”

WITH THE CHANGE IN STYLE THROUGH 11, HOW MUCH ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR CAR TO MAKE THAT WORK? “I think part of the driving style there. Different drivers are going to find different ways through. It’s all about getting the power down. You don’t want to give up mid-corner speed either. Especially in a very slow corner like that, there is so much lap time. It’s just a tough corner to get the power down, so I think it doesn’t mean there is one way that has to work. I think you find. At the test, I did over 100 laps. We started to set up the car for how I am driving it, and go from there.”

RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC/EMBRASE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 5TH IN PRACTICE: "It was a good day. We were slightly concerned by not testing here last week that we would have a lot of work to do, but having tested on the old layout back in February I was able to adapt quickly. I hope we can keep on running good like we did today for the rest of the weekend."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 TRUECAR/MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 6TH IN PRACTICE: “The car is fast. It’s actually faster than it shows on the time charts. It’s just the wind was tricky today. It was very tricky last week at the test, but then it was blowing (from the north) and it’s blowing (from the south) today. That obviously changes the car dramatically. Nothing that makes the car from good to bad or bad to good, but where you were really strong, you are struggling with the tailwind and vice versa. Still pretty happy with the car. We have some work to do, but we’ll see where we are in qualifying.”

MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 9TH IN PRACTICE: "Compared to the test session (last week), we gained a lot of traction in the slow-speed corners, but we've lost some in the high speed sections. So, as a team, we all have to work to find the balance between the two that can give us a great lap tomorrow for qualifying."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO 17 AFS RACING ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 10TH IN PRACTICE: “It was great out there today. I’m very excited to be back in the IndyCar. It was very important that we were able to do that test last week to get used to the new car. It’s very different from what I remember from last year. It’s been good so far. We’ve managed to consistently improve the car together with my teammates’ and we just need to keep fighting. The front guys are pretty quick and we need to close that gap.”

ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 PANTHER/DREYER AND REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, 11TH IN PRACTICE: "It's not where we want to be, but a little bit better than the test. I think we found a bit of a direction of where we want to be with the setups. It's just like always, it's tight and we need to be optimizing what we have. A couple of tenths put us P5 and it's P1 that we want to be. We are a little bit farther away than we wanted so we need to work a little bit."

TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONIS/GEICO KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 13TH IN PRACTICE: “We didn’t test here last week like most of the other teams, so today was about learning the new track changes. It was a productive day in that regard. We will take a look at the data and come up with some changes that will hopefully improve the car for qualifying.”

JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, 14TH IN PRACTICE: “This was a pretty reasonable first day for us. We came with the intentions of figuring a few things out from the test, and at the end of the session we just ran out of time to try a couple more things so we put on a fresh set of tires. We ended up mid-pack which for where we feel like we’re at with the car right now is about right.”

ON RIDE-ALONG LAP WITH JOHNNY O’CONNELL IN CADILLAC CTS-V COUPE AT SONOMA: “I’ve always loved the Cadillac CTS-V, and I did a road test here last year. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s a real treat to hop in with the man, the myth, the legend [Johnny O’Connell] to really see what it’s all about.

I was really impressed. It’s got a butt-load of grip and it is really impressive. The way the car handles and how stable it is for being as big as it is is really impressive. It’s obviously got a great tire underneath it and he was pushing pretty hard. He did a great job. I’d definitely come back for more.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, 3 NO. PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL CHEVROLET, 16TH IN PRACTICE: “The Team Penske Truck Rental boys did a great job again, but the result wasn’t the one we expected. We had such a great test here, but somehow our setup is very different than what we had. I know the conditions changed, but certainly through my teammates I can see that we can do much better. I know we can do much better and the good news is we have tomorrow to find out what happened and execute.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 19TH IN PRACTICE: "Each of the (four Andretti Autosport) teams tried different things during the session. The track has definitely changed since the test, and we're going to have to work together to find the speed we'll need. I'm confident in my guys, and the DHL/ Sun Drop boys have been good all season about taking the Friday data and then coming back with a much faster set-up for qualifying and usually even better in the race. That's what it will take to go for the win Sunday."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 20TH IN PRACTICE: “Man, it was not the day we wanted. We’re just struggling a bit. There’s no way to dance around it. We came here for the test last Friday and it was not great. We were hoping we’d come back here with something a little bit stronger. We’re just really struggling with this track. I wish I could tell you why, then we’d have a better handle on it. We’ve got three cars. Marco was close to a top ten but even so, he was a second off the pace. There’s a couple of guys that really have this place figured out and the rest of us are sort of trying to pick up the scraps in the mid-field and back. We didn’t do a second set of tires today which a lot of guys did, so it might not be quite as bad as it looks on the timesheets, but it’s still not where we need to be. But, we’ll put our heads together, we’ll work hard and try to get the GoDaddy car up a bit higher for tomorrow.”

E.J. VISO, NO. 5 CITGO/PDVSA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 22ND IN PRACTICE: “We tried some things today in practice that didn’t work out. However, that is the advantage of having a three-car team. You can have each driver do something different and see what works best. Tonight we will sit down and go through all the data the team collected and come up with a setup for tomorrow morning’s practice session and then, hopefully, have a good qualifying session.”

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 27TH IN PRACTICE: “It just wasn’t a great session for us today. We tried something from where we ended the test (last Friday) and I think it did more harm than good. But that is something you have to try in the first practice. The wind was blowing a different direction today than from the test day. So that might have made the track a little different for us. We just need to sit down and go over the data to improve on Saturday. We can work with the car and make the proper adjustments for qualifying.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Rubens Barrichello , Sébastien Bourdais , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Will Power , Sebastian Saavedra
Teams Andretti Autosport , Team Penske
Article type Practice report
Tags andretti, barrichello, bourdais, briscoe, chevrolet, hunter-reay, penske, power, saavedra, servia