WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - The United States takes the Fourth of July holiday to celebrate its independence, but the multinational driver lineup of the IndyCar Series literally powered right through the national day off, getting in two sessions of ...
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - The United States takes the Fourth of July holiday to celebrate its independence, but the multinational driver lineup of the IndyCar Series literally powered right through the national day off, getting in two sessions of practice for this weekend's Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.
The team ran 2 1/2 hours of practice today around the 3.4-mile road course, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) getting in his first IndyCar laps on the fabled New York layout. Hunter-Reay and his Rahal Letterman Racing machine rolled off the truck in good shape and were on the top of the time charts early into the day's first session. Unfortunately the rest of the field caught up and made bigger gains than the RLR squad did on the first day, leaving the team with some more work to do before tomorrow's qualifying.
Hunter-Reay turned a best lap of 1:31.7989 (130.996 mph) in his afternoon session, leaving him 17th on the 26-car grid heading into Saturday's qualifying for the Firestone Fast Six and Sunday's IndyCar event.
"There's not much positive to say about how things went today," Hunter-Reay said. "We'd been fast at every road course that we've been to until today. All we can do is to hope that we find some answers between now and tomorrow."
Hunter-Reay was 14th on the charts after the first practice session, but the team was upbeat after the 90-minute outing considering that they had done all 24 laps on a single set of Firestone Firehawks. The second session opened with Hunter-Reay vaulting into the third spot after the first 20 minutes but even a change of tires was unable to produce more speed for the reigning Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year.
"This was a little bit of a frustrating day for Rahal Letterman Racing," said team Chief Operating Officer Scott Roembke. "We started off pretty well coming off of the truck but we didn't make the gains we expected. Since we hasn't been to a road course since April in St. Petersburg we decided to try a few different things in the afternoon, which kept us from moving up the time charts. We also didn't use up many of our sets of tires so we are looking forward to a better day tomorrow."