Jack Harvey driving with fractured thumb

Before we get into the Mazda Road To Indy practice reports here at Barber Motorsports Park, there is one last note from the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire race at Long Beach.

SPM with Curb-Agajanian driver Jack Harvey suffered a fractured thumb on his left hand as a result of his second incident of the race, when his No. 42 Racing Steps Foundation Mazda/Dallara got together with Juan Piedrahita. He explained that when he had scans done at the track, the Doctors told him he might miss up to six weeks, but when he got back to Indianapolis he visited the IndyCar doctors and they cleared him to race this weekend. They warned him of the risks, but he said “there was no way I was missing this race.” TSO was able to chat with him after the first Indy Lights session and he said that he had no pain, but that he was glad he didn’t do this last year as the old Indy Lights car was far more physical to drive.
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Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire practice

The dew sweepers this morning, and there was quite bit of dew on the manicured lawns of Barber Motorsports Park when we arrived this morning, were the 17 Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire drivers, who took to the track at 8am for their first and only practice session of the day. The ambient temperature was 58F and the track temperatures ranged between 57F in T3 to 68F in

Andretti Autosport rookie driver Weiron Tan quickly jumped to the top of the charts and remained on point the entire practice session. He was followed in the top five by the Juncos Racing quartet of Timothe Buret, Jose Gutierrez, Garett Grist and Will Owen.

Tan’s quickest lap was a 1:20.403, which is only a tenth and a half of a second from the track record set by Spencer Pigot at Cooper Tires Winterfest in 2014. Ten of the 17 drivers were able to come within a second of Tan’s quickest lap.

The session went red with eight minutes left when Alessandro Latif had an incident exiting the final corner of the circuit and he came to rest halfway down the front straight. He dropped a wheel at the exit of Turn 17 and did some slight damage to the right rear corner of the car. The session went checkered flag while they retrieved the No. 14.

TSO had a chance to chat with Juncos Racing driver Garett Grist after the session and he said they are really happy with where they are as a team (all four drivers in the top five) and explained that all four drivers were strong in different portions of the circuit. This should bode well for qualifying If they can learn from each other and apply it that knowledge to their qualifying laps.

TSO also asked Grist what it was like working with Peter Dempsey (a former Indy Lights winning driver and current engineer for Juncos driver’s Grist and Gutierrez) and his face lit up when he explained what an awesome experience it has been. The Canadian sophomore said he has learned so much both as a driver, but also about the nuts and bolts of what makes a car go quicker. This is a story that we’ll be looking to expand on in the future.

The complete time sheet is as follows:

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER QUICKEST LAP
1 22 Weiron Tan 1:20.403
2 6 Timothe Buret 1:20.641
3 7 Jose Gutierrez 1:20.714
4 5 Garett Grist 1:20.866
5 23 Will Owen 1:20.936
6 28 Dalton Kellett 1:20.993
7 81 Santiago Urrutia 1:21.053
8 82 Pato O’Ward 1:21.099
9 3 Neil Alberico 1:21.315
10 91 Kyle Connery 1:21.358
11 10 Florian Latorre 1:21.508
12 19 Raoul Owens 1:21.710
13 2 Daniel Burkett 1:21.832
14 14 Alessandro Latif 1:22.060
15 26 Parker Nicklin 1:22.943
16 13 Bobby Eberle(E) 1:24.251
17 37 Jay Horak(E) 1:25.999

The Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire drivers are back on track for a 30 minute qualifying session at 3:15pm.

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Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire practice #1

The second Mazda Road To Indy group to take to the 2.3 mile 17-Turn road course at Barber Motorsports Park were the 12 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire entries.

Kyle Kaiser, Jack Harvey and Spencer Pigot were the early leaders and it only took 13 minutes for Pigot to wheel the No. 12 to a track record time of 1:13.826. Current Verizon IndyCar Series driver Carlos Munoz set the old track record of 1:13.8509 in 2013.

Halfway through the session the top five were: Pigot, Ed Jones, Kaiser, Max Chilton and Harvey.

The session ended with Pigot on top with a quickest lap of 1:12.9373, which is almost a full second under the previous track record. He was followed in the top five by Chilton, Kaiser, Harvey and Sean Rayhall. All of the top five turned laps that were under the previous track record.

Speaking of Rayhall, what an impressive debut by the sports-car star, who was most recently seen winning races in the Prototype Challenge class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The 20 year-old hasn’t been in an open wheel car since 2010 when he contested the SCCA Southeast Division National Formula Enterprises championship. TSO will be watching his progress as the weekend goes on.

TSO was able to chat with Harvey after the session and he said he was “fairly” happy with his car. He explained that a team and driver is always trying to chase the balance at Barber Motorsports Park, and that the team that can predict how the track will react during qualifying will end up on pole.

The session went green for the entire half-hour and the field was able to complete 188 total laps, with the top six drivers within the top lap turned by Pigot.

The complete time sheet is as follows:

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER QUICKEST LAP
1 12 Spencer Pigot 1:12.937
2 14 Max Chilton 1:13.207
3 18 Kyle Kaiser 1:13.291
4 42 Jack Harvey 1:13.636
5 8 Sean Rayhall 1:13.799
6 11 Ed Jones 1:13.854
7 51 Shelby Blackstock 1:13.956
8 7 RC Enerson 1:14.115
9 5 Juan Piedrahita 1:14.297
10 77 Scott Anderson 1:14.497
11 4 Felix Serralles 1:14.621
12 71 Ethan Ringel 1:16.131

The Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire drivers are back on track for their second practice session of the day at 12:55pm.

 

As always, thanks for reading and we’ll be back with more in a little bit.