8.30.13 – Hello from Maryland's Inner Harbor where the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT kicked off our Labor Day weekend! Our sister company Andretti Sports Marketing has been working hard alongside race promoter Race On Baltimore to make this weekend an exciting one. Everything looks great and we can't wait to see what else this Celebration of Acceleration has in store for the INDYCAR teams.
Our four IndyCar Series drivers and duo of Firestone Indy Lights drivers took the streets today as they practiced for tomorrow's qualifying sessions.
GoDaddy driver and Mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe, led the way for the Andretti Autosport IndyCar quartet today. "The times don’t look awesome; we didn’t get new tires there at the end, but largely I’m actually pretty happy with the GoDaddy car. We made small changes on it during the last session because the lunch changes were really good. Hopefully we can keep fine tuning things here and there because I think we’re pretty close. It’s definitely a car that can fight for the (Firestone) Fast Six."
E.J. Viso led the team in morning practice with a lap time fast enough for P2 and ended the day 15th overall. “Tough day. I think as a team, we are not where we are supposed to be. We just definitely need to work hard tonight and come up with some good changes and good ideas for tomorrow. It is extremely competitive, and it seems this track helps and really suits the Honda teams; I’m sure that overnight there will be some changes happening from us and Team Chevy.”
Returning race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was not as pleased with today's effort but remains confident in the progress to come. "It’s tough," said RHR. "Right now we need to regroup as a team and go forward with some testing tomorrow. We’re all a little bit off paced from where we need to be. At the moment, the way the curbs and chicanes are set up, you need to put your car at major risk to get the lap time. I’m not quite there on putting the DHL Chevy at full risk – we’ll see. I’m fully confident we’ll be on it for tomorrow."
The maroon and white paint scheme of Dr Pepper returns to the No. 25 Chevy this weekend as Marco Andretti works to make his way into the Firestone Fast Six — it would be his first top-six grid appearance on the streets of Baltimore. "We totally went the wrong way today, but we were trying something that we thought we needed for qualifying tomorrow. I’m glad we got it out of the way today because now we know and won’t be a change behind tomorrow. I think we are headed in the right direction and can hopefully see the Dr Pepper car in the (Firestone) Fast Six tomorrow."
Making his second Firestone Indy Lights appearance in Baltimore, Carlos Munoz ranked second in today's practice session behind the wheel of the No. 26 Dialy-Ser machine. The Firestone Indy Lights Championship points leader posted a best lap time of 1:26.234 at the 12-turn street circuit. "Today's practice seemed quite short," said Carlos. "We didn't have much time on track, but I feel good. I think we have to improve a little bit… we'll make a couple changes overnight. It's only the beginning of the weekend, and we still have one more practice for qualifying tomorrow, so we have to work hard and start the weekend off the right way."
Replay driver Zach Veach worked his way into the top-six during today's practice, despite feeling a little under the weather. This weekend's 35-lap race marks Veach's 10th career Firestone Indy Lights start, where he has recorded six top-five starts. "Today, with the new Replay car, it didn't go exactly how we wanted with a P6 in the session," said Zach. "My engineer and I want to take a chance because it's still early in the weekend and try something that worked for him last year. The thing is, the track has really gripped up compared to this point last year, so I think we made the wrong call on that. But my Andretti guys are great at recovering, and we'll go back and be strong tomorrow morning and through qualifying. I just want to thank Replay for joining in on the No. 12 car this weekend – we're going to be working really hard to get Replay their first win."
Catch all the IndyCar qualifying action from Baltimore on NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) at 6 p.m. Saturday. If you don't mind a few spoilers, follow along with qualifying live at 12 p.m. via Twitter with @FollowAndretti
. You can also catch the live radio broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, on SiriusXM (Channel 211) and IndyCar.com
If you're here with us in Baltimore this weekend, don't miss multi-platinum band (and Andretti Autosport sponsor!) LIVE at the Main Stage located at Victory Lane tomorrow at 6 p.m. — it's going to be great!