BIRMINGHAM (April 20, 2018) – Three Chevrolet 2.2 liter twin turbocharged V6 drivers topped the time and speed charts after two round of practice for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
Defending Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) champion and Barber defending race winner Josef Newgarden posted the best time of the combined results for the morning and afternoon sessions. His best lap behind the wheel of the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet was one minute, 07.4345 seconds/122.786 mph.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot followed closely behind Newgarden in the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka with Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, in third.
Final practice is scheduled for 10:50 a.m. CDT with Firestone Fast Six qualifying set for a 3:05 p.m. CDT start on Saturday afternoon.
The 90-lap race on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn permanent road course will be telecast live on NBCSN at 3 p.m. EDT Sunday.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 1 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “It’s a great — home track for me. It wins the war between this place and Indianapolis because it’s an hour closer, so I think
that’s why I call it the home track. Unfortunately we don’t race in Nashville anymore. But I’ve always loved Barber. It is a special place for me. It’s the place I got my first win with CFH back in the day, and it’s a place I won my first race for Team Penske. It’s had a couple firsts for me, so it’s been good for that. Good memories. I love this racetrack. I think it’s one of the best that we get to drive at from sort of a style standpoint. It’s very technical, but it’s got a lot of flow to it. It feels kind of like a roller coaster to me is the best way to describe the style of it. I have a lot of fun here. I think it’s great.”
MATHEUS LEIST, NO. 4 ABC SUPPLY AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET: “We’re struggling with understeer in mid-corner so we need more rotation in the car. If we can fix the mid-corner understeer, we’re going to have a fast car tomorrow. We’ll keep working on it and hopefully we’ll have a great weekend.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “I think once again the temperature of the track really makes it tough in these cars. It was very nice this morning and was easy to get lap times. And then all of a sudden this afternoon, even on reds, it’s very difficult to get the car right. We’re going to have to go back and have a good think about it.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 14 ABC SUPPLY TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “It’s a difficult day. We’re struggling a lot. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
JORDAN KING, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: “This morning was really good and we made some good progress. For this afternoon’s session, we changed a couple of things to see if they helped. We’re keeping the tradition though of not getting a lap time on reds, between traffic and red flags and yellows! We are farther down than I think we should be. We should be quite a bit quicker, probably seven or eight tenths faster than what we were. We’re not a million miles away. We just need a few more small improvements to get me a bit more comfortable with the car.”
SPENCER PIGOT, NO. 21 FUZZY’S VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: “That was a really good session! It’s nice to end up at the front here at Barber. It’s one of my favorite tracks, I really enjoy it. The session was good right from the get-go on black tires. We were quite fast, then when we put the reds on the car just gained more grip. Sometimes when you put them on, it can really change the balance, but this time it felt really good. We were able to get a little more out of the car in pretty much every corner. I’m very happy with the Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy so far, hopefully we can keep it up there!”
SIMON PAGENAUD, NO. 22 MENARDS TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: “The car is really fast. It was a really good session to start. But unfortunately we had a bit of a spin on the reds trying a little too hard I guess. That’s what you have to do before qualifying. You have to find the limits but I’m very happy with Menards car. I think we’ll be in great shape tomorrow.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 23 TRESIBA CARLIN CHEVROLET: “We made a setup change to the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet that didn’t work out the way we had hoped. When those red flags came out, we were just trying to make sure that we had worked through our race program and that we were ready for Sunday. With no warm-up on race day that last practice was really our last chance for a race running opportunity, so we needed to make sure that we worked on the race setup and also made sure that we were maximizing what we were getting out of the new reds for qualifying. Obviously Max and the 59 car looked really good for a lot of the session, so we’ll be able to look at his data tonight and make sure the car is back where it needs to be.”
RENE BINDER, NO. 32 BINDERHOLZ JUNCOS RACING CHEVROLET: “I think that the practice went well in the beginning. We did find some improvement so it went better and better. Then we put the red tires on and I tried to push hard and maybe a little too much. I then lost the car, it went straight into the wall. It was a little bit too late with my hands, taking them off the steering wheel, so my left hand hurts a little bit.”
MAX CHILTON, NO. 59 GALLAGHER CARLIN CHEVROLET: “We’re starting to figure out exactly where we need to be get the results we want. We made a lot of progress as a team in Long Beach with qualifying and we’re keeping that momentum going here finishing in the top 12 of both practice sessions today. The racing is so incredibly close here at Barber, so we’re going to have to really up our game for qualifying and the race if we want a good result for the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet. I think we definitely have potential to get into the top 12 for qualifying tomorrow, especially if we keep moving in in the direction we are today.”
GABBY CHAVES, NO. 88 HARDING GROUP HARDING RACING CHEVROLET:
“Tough day for us today. We had a mechanical issue towards the end of practice 2, so it cut our time on track short. I know the Harding Racing guys are working hard to make sure everything will be good to go tomorrow for practice 3 and Qualifying. We’ll keep at it tonight to be ready to push tomorrow.”