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Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Fast Facts

Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise)

Race distance: 80 laps / 157.4 miles

Entry List: See below

Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 20 seconds each

Firestone tire allotment: Four sets primary, three sets alternate

Twitter: @ToyotaGPLB @IndyCar, #TGPLB, #IndyCar

Event website: www.gplb.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2014 race winner: Mike Conway (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet)

2014 Verizon P1 Award winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda),1:07.8219, 104.462 mph

Qualifying lap record: Justin Wilson, 1:06.902, 105.898 mph, April 2008

NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 19 (4 p.m. ET)

NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 18 (6:30 p.m. ET)
Brian Till will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kelly Stavast, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: Paul Page is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Qualifying and all Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network, Sirius 213, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR 15 app. Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions are on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app.

Video Streaming: All practice sessions for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season will be available on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar) and RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR 15 App: Verizon Wireless puts fans in the driver’s seat with its INDYCAR 15 app. The app has been enhanced with new features to keep fans in the know of the latest race-day action. Exclusive features of the INDYCAR 15 app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include Interactive 3D Live View with real-time leaderboard and car telemetry to see where a fan’s favorite driver is positioned, leaderboard with enhanced 2D marching ants and car telemetry for 2015, in-car camera video streams from cameras that move 360 degrees and Driver-Pit Crew Chatter as drivers talk strategy with their pit crews during the race.

At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, April 17
12:30-1:15 p.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)
3:45-4:30 p.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)

Saturday, April 18
10-10:45 a.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)
2 p.m. (Three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series qualifications)

Sunday, April 19
10-10:30 a.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up)
1 p.m. NBCSN on air
1:37 p.m. Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach green flag

Race Notes:
* James Hinchcliffe and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports played strategy to perfection and won the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park on April 12. Now the “mayor of Hinchtown” hopes to make Long Beach his latest conquest.

* This weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 32nd Indy car event on the historic street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first Indy car race there in 1984. Mike Conway was the 2014 race winner.

* Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six), while Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Bourdais won three straight races from 2005-2007. Power won in 2008 and 2012. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are: Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Helio Castroneves (2001), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010) and Takuma Sato (2013).

* Team Penske drivers have won four of the last six poles at Long Beach: Power from 2009-2011 and Ryan Briscoe in 2012. In addition to Power, other past pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Hunter-Reay (2014), Justin Wilson (2008), Bourdais (2006-2007), Castroneves (2001) and Tony Kanaan (1999).

* Four drivers have won the race from the pole – Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Unser Jr. (1989-90), Castroneves (2001) and Bourdais (2006-07).

* Nineteen drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Long Beach. Twelve of those drivers have led laps: Bourdais 168, Power 162, Hunter-Reay 122, Castroneves 101, Sato 66, Marco Andretti 64, Kanaan 51, Montoya 40, Simon Pagenaud 26, Scott Dixon 25, Sebastian Saavedra 3, Josef Newgarden 1.

* Gabby Chaves, Stefano Coletti, Francesco Dracone and Luca Filippi will compete in their first Verizon IndyCar Series race on the streets of Long Beach. Chaves competed on the circuit in Indy Lights.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 236th consecutive race, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon has made 177 consecutive starts.

* Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, is tied with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 35.

* The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda. Cars are differentiated by their shape on the street course as the manufacturers have designed separate aero kit specifications for road and street course/short ovals and speedways for the Dallara IR-12 chassis. References to the cars will incorporate the name of the corresponding manufacturer.

* The No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Dallara crew of James Hinchcliffe won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana with a total pit lane time of 35.066 seconds. The Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Pre-Race Driver Quotes:

Will Power (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet): “Long Beach, man, everyone wants to win at Long Beach. It’s one of the biggest races in North America and a place with so much history. I’ve had some pretty interesting history there myself, from qualifying on the pole before Helio (Castroneves) made his comeback in 2009 to winning there twice in my career at Team Penske. If you want to see what street racing is all about in the Verizon IndyCar Series, then you need to go to Long Beach. With the amount of attention we paid in the offseason to preparing for the street courses, I expect us to be quick this weekend. We knew going into the season that those tracks would be our strong suit. The No. 1 Verizon Chevy team was fortunate to come away from NOLA with a decent points day, but it looked to be much more promising. Regardless, we will be ready for Long Beach.”

Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Knowing that we’ve had the fastest cars at both of the first two races to start the season is a great feeling for everyone at Team Penske and the No. 2 Verizon Chevy team. Unfortunately, we couldn’t control the weather at NOLA or the caution flags that came with it. We should be sitting here with two wins to start the season, but to have a nice lead in the points and to be running well on the street courses gives us plenty of momentum going into this weekend at Long Beach. Long Beach will always be a special place for me. It was where I won my first major Indy car race in 1999, setting me up for a tremendous season that culminated in the (CART) championship that year. It would be very nice to win there again and set ourselves up for a title run this year.”

Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet): “Sometimes you are not going to have races that go your way and you need to man up, overcome and make the best of a situation. The weather in New Orleans was something we could not control. Several drivers, myself included, made some mistakes on the wet surface and we paid for it. But the Hitachi team did a great job in making repairs and getting me back on track for a solid finish. When you have a will to win like that, it means you can overcome anything that comes your way during the season. Those are the kind of days and races that make you a champion. Hopefully our race at Long Beach in the Auto Club of Southern California Chevy will be smoother. Our cars were really strong at St. Petersburg, so I really like the platform we have for the street circuits.”

Stefano Coletti (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I’m excited to race at Long Beach for the first time. From what I have seen, it’s a fast, bumpy track with some good passing opportunities, which will be a lot of fun. This will now be my third race for KV Racing Technology and the team has given me a great car at my previous two events, so I am sure we’ll be just as competitive here, too. I look forward to not only driving this historic track, but also seeing the West Coast for the first time.”

James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): “Long Beach is one of my favorite events of the year. There’s a reason that race has been going on for more than 40 years now. The fans are great, the atmosphere is awesome and the track is one my favorites. I’ve always seemed to run pretty well there and obviously, coming off of our win last weekend, the whole team is helping to keep the momentum going, and we’re hoping for a good result.”

James Jakes (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Obviously very excited to go to Long Beach. It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks of the year and one of the best races on the calendar, not just from a circuit point of view but also from a fan perspective. They have a great atmosphere there. We had two great results in New Orleans last weekend, so everybody’s very excited to maintain the momentum. We look forward to another strong weekend in Long Beach.”

Sebastian Saavedra (No. 8 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It’s good to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series. This is an amazing opportunity for me with AFS to work with one of the most prestigious teams in all of racing. I’m very grateful to Chip and the team, which have had an incredible history in the sport, and specifically in the Indianapolis 500. I’m looking forward to Long Beach and doing everything I can to help get the No. 8 car to the front.”

Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Long Beach is one of the most iconic tracks we run on. There are a lot of different tracks that stand out for different reasons, and like Indianapolis, it’s got a lot of background with a 40-year history. I’ve raced there in Indy Lights and CART, and Formula One raced there back in the day. Some of the best racers in the world over many generations have won there and participated there. It’s just such a cool place, you’re right on the ocean there and close to L.A., so it’s got a great vibe. They have something for everybody. That’s one of the coolest parts about Long Beach, but I’ve never won there. I’ve really got to sort my act out at that place and hopefully get a victory there this weekend.”

Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It’s always fun to come to Long Beach and race. It’s just got so much history for so many people, even for me. This is actually where I earned my first pole in this series in 1999. I’ve had a lot of good races here and a lot of not-so-good races here, so I’m ready to pull out a win. NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing is coming off a decent weekend in New Orleans. We were able to come out of that race with a sixth-place finish and continue with the momentum into Long Beach. It’s a quick turnaround for everyone, but I think with the way car has been running, we are definitely prepared for Long Beach.”

Sebastien Bourdais (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “We had a solid race in the season opener at St. Petersburg, finishing sixth. Then at New Orleans, it was just a weird race. The car ran good, but with all the things that happened, it just didn’t work out. Hopefully, Long Beach will be better for us. It is a great event because of the atmosphere. Next to the Indy 500, it is the premier event on our schedule.” (About the circuit) “The Long Beach circuit is a challenge. There are different corners and different surfaces that you have to contend with, so getting the right setup is crucial. Because it is a street circuit, qualifying is extremely important.” (About his history at Long Beach): “I had some success at Long Beach (three straight wins from 2005-2007), but the last few years have been more difficult. However, based on how good the KVSH Racing car has been so far this season, I am looking forward to having a good race. Also, you have to remember that my team owner Kevin Kalkhoven co-owns the race, so I think the entire team would like to do well for him.”

Takuma Sato (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “The Long Beach track has a great balance of layout. It has both high-speed and low-speed corners and heavy braking followed by good straights, which means there are a few overtaking opportunities for drivers. The track is a little on the lower side of grip level, but it can evolve a lot over the weekend as it rubbers down in the usually consistently good weather. The venue has a fantastic atmosphere and great restaurants downtown or nearby. It’s just one of the best street courses I’ve known from many aspects. Long Beach has got a long racing history with the greatest series (Formula One and INDYCAR). People love this race and winning it makes it even more valuable and special.”

Graham Rahal (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “I have been pleasantly surprised by the fan support and excitement since we announced Steak ‘n Shake as a sponsor. The fans have taken the news by storm and the support has been pretty incredible. It seems that every day someone tags me in a tweet with a picture of themselves at Steak ‘n Shake. I’m looking forward to getting out there in the Steak ‘n Shake Maxim car and seeing how we can do. It’s a racy-looking machine; I think the colors suit the car well. The last time we ran red and white, we finished second at Long Beach (2013, with sponsor Big O Tires), so hopefully that carries forward. Long Beach is kind of a home race for me these days, so it will be exciting to be out there with a lot of friends and family. Hopefully we can put on a good show for them. The St. Pete and Long Beach tracks are a little bit different, but I do think that having had a competitive run at St. Pete indicates that we should have a good run at Long Beach. I feel pretty confident in our street course car. Long Beach has kind of been one of our strong suits as far as the street courses have been, certainly the last couple of years, so I’m looking forward to it. Long Beach is a very technical track, there are a lot of bumps, a lot of different variations of speed and cornering; it should be a lot of fun.”

Luca Filippi (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I can’t wait to be in Long Beach. I have a good feeling about that place. Even though I’ve never been, there is so much history at that track between INDYCAR and Formula One that I want to make my mark on that race. We are going to do our best to win it again this year.”

Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): “I pride myself on being cool under pressure, but I have to admit I was pretty hot last weekend at NOLA. I hate that we were involved in the incident there at the end and I’m very thankful that no one was hurt. I’ve put it behind me because it’s time for the Penske Truck Rental Chevy team to get ready for Long Beach, one of our premier races. It would be a big deal for me to win that race. It’s just an iconic race. The Indianapolis 500 is our biggest event, but I believe that Long Beach is at the top of the list of tracks we race at as well. If we are able to get the win there in my first season with Team Penske, it would be very special. I’m proud of the way we have started the season. We should have two top-five finishes were it not for some crazy circumstances at NOLA. I really believe we are getting better and better each week, with a win just around the corner.”

Carlos Munoz (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): “It’s nice to be going back to Long Beach. I have great memories from that track from Indy Lights – I won that race – and last year in (the Verizon) IndyCar (Series), I finished third. It’s great – one of my favorite tracks, not only because of the track itself, but also the ambience outside of the circuit.”

Marco Andretti (No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda): “Long Beach is high on my list of desired wins, second only to Indy. There is so much history with my family in Long Beach, I want to add my name to the list of winners there. It’s one of my favorite events each year and we’re looking for good results for the 27.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda): “This weekend is always a highlight for me on the schedule for many reasons. I look forward to getting back out to the beach. We’ve run so strong in Long Beach in the past, hopefully we can put together another strong weekend for the DHL Honda.”

Jack Hawksworth (No. 41 ABC Supply Co. AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Long Beach is one of the most historic street circuits in the world and the list of great champions who have won there is endless. It’s a bit like the Indianapolis of street course racing – its history and prestige definitely sets it apart. In terms of track layout, it is very technical and challenging. The circuit has a fantastic feel to it and there is always a great crowd and buzz around the paddock.”

Josef Newgarden (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I feel good about going to Long Beach. I am happy about where we are at and I’m really excited to go there now after not being able to capitalize on our speed last weekend in New Orleans. My guys have put in so much hard work, I think they’re as prepared as they need to be to go into Long Beach and be solid. We have such a great group, everyone is pushing really hard for good results. We haven’t started off the year too bad, now we just need to keep moving the bar higher.”

Charlie Kimball (No, 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “After a wet weekend in New Orleans, I think we’re all more than ready to get to the ‘Best Coast’ for some sunshine and, of course, racing. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team showed we had speed both on a wet and dry track (in New Orleans). Unfortunately with the qualifying session ending the way it did and the less-than-ideal conditions for race day, we didn’t get the result for our efforts. The guys have a quick turnaround for Long Beach this weekend, but I have no doubt the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet will be quick as soon as we roll onto the track. It’s a race I enjoy as a driver and one I enjoyed as a kid growing up. With it being a home race for me, I am always pushing extra hard for my friends and family members in the grandstands!”

Gabby Chaves (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): “I’m really looking forward to Long Beach. Having won there in Indy Lights, it’s my favorite road/street course on the schedule. Everybody has been working real hard at BHA. The Bowers & Wilkins/Castrol EDGE Honda has been good at both the St. Pete race and NOLA in the dry, just haven’t had things go our way. This weekend is when we’re going to turn our luck around.”

Verizon IndyCar Series
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Streets of Long Beach, Calif.
April 19, 2015

Car Driver Hometown Car Name Aero kit|Engine Entrant
1 Will Power Toowoomba, Australia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Verizon Team Penske
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Bogota, Colombia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske
3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Team Penske
4 Stefano Coletti (R) Monaco, Monaco KV Racing Technology Chevrolet KV Racing Technology
5 James Hinchcliffe Toronto, Canada Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
7 James Jakes Leeds, England Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
8 Sebastian Saavedra Bogota, Colombia AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
10 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Brazil NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
11 Sebastien Bourdais Le Mans, France Team Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Chevrolet KVSH Racing
14 Takuma Sato Tokyo, Japan ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises
15 Graham Rahal New Albany, Ohio Steak ‘n Shake Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
18 Carlos Huertas Bogota, Colombia Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing
19 Francesco Dracone (R) Turin, Italy Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing
20 Luca Filippi Savigliano, Italy Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet CFH Racing
22 Simon Pagenaud Montmorillon, France Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet Team Penske
26 Carlos Munoz Bogota, Colombia AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda Andretti Autosport
27 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Snapple Honda Andretti Autosport
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Fort Lauderdale, Fla. DHL Honda Andretti Autosport
41 Jack Hawksworth Bradford, England ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises
67 Josef Newgarden Hendersonville, Tenn. Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet CFH Racing
83 Charlie Kimball Camarillo, Calif. Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
98 Gabby Chaves (R) Bogota, Colombia Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda BHA with Curb-Agajanian

All cars use fourth-generation Verizon IndyCar Series chassis (Dallara IR12) with Chevrolet or Honda aerodynamic bodywork kits and Firestone tires.
(R) – Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate
Issued: 4/14/2015

Medical Update on Pro Mazda Championship Driver Michael Johnson

The following is a medical update on Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires driver Michael Johnson of JDC Motorsports, who made contact with the Turn 3 wall in the opening practice session of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27, 2015.

According to Bayfront Medical Center spokeswoman Elena Mesa, Johnson was discharged from hospital care April 15.

Johnson also released the following statement:

“It’s great to finally be up and moving around and I’m looking forward to getting back home. I’m not in any real pain and I was beyond ready to be released. I can’t thank all of the fans, fellow drivers, teams, my sponsors and especially my family enough for the outpouring of support over the past few weeks. And to everyone at Bayfront Medical Center for the tremendous care they have given me, thank you. I’m on the road to recovery.”

Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana Results

AVONDALE, La.- Results Sunday of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana Verizon IndyCar Series event at the 2.74 mile NOLA Motorsports Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (16) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 47, Running
2. (4) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 47, Running
3. (22) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 47, Running
4. (18) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 47, Running
5. (1) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevy, 47, Running
6. (3) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 47, Running
7. (2) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 47, Running
8. (11) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 47, Running
9. (12) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 47, Running
10. (9) Luca Filippi, Dallara-Chevy, 47, Running
11. (15) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevy, 47, Running
12. (14) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Honda, 47, Running
13. (10) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 47, Running
14. (21) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Chevy, 47, Running
15. (17) Gabby Chaves, Dallara-Honda, 46, Running
16. (24) Carlos Huertas, Dallara-Honda, 46, Running
17. (20) Stefano Coletti, Dallara-Chevy, 44, Running
18. (19) Sage Karam, Dallara-Chevy, 44, Running
19. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 43, Contact
20. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Chevy, 43, Contact
21. (6) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 43, Contact
22. (13) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 39, Contact
23. (23) Francesco Dracone, Dallara-Honda, 23, Contact
24. (8) Jack Hawksworth, Dallara-Honda, 19, Contact

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 71.995
Time of Race: 01:47:19.4896
Margin of victory: Under caution
Cautions: 6 for 25 laps
Lead changes: 3 among 3 drivers
Lap Leaders:
Montoya 1-13
Castroneves 14
Montoya 15-32
Hinchcliffe 33-47
Point Standings: Montoya 84, Castroneves 74, Power 70, Hinchcliffe 65, Kanaan 63, de Silvestro 44, Jakes 43, Rahal 43, Filippi 42, Pagenaud 41.

Hinchcliffe’s Big Gamble Yields Big Payoff in Big Easy

AVONDALE, La. (April 12, 2015) – James Hinchcliffe had a premonition midway through the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana when his crew ordered him not to make a pit stop like the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series field leaders at NOLA Motorsports Park. The hunch came true when the Canadian driver took the checkered flag to win a wild and unpredictable series debut on the 2.74-mile road course outside New Orleans.

“When we first decided to stay out, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we could make this a one-stopper?'” said Hinchcliffe, driver of the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda. “I just never thought it (would happen). On one hand, I feel badly that we didn’t have more green-flag laps for the fans and everybody here at NOLA, but on the other hand, those guys (on his crew) called it awesome.”

Hinchcliffe won for the fourth time in his Indy car career – and first since June 2013 at Iowa Speedway -under a full-course caution ahead of Helio Castroneves, in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. The race, run in changing track conditions after heavy morning rains, ended after 47 laps due to the 1-hour, 45-minute time limit.

Most of the front-runners came to the pits on Lap 33 during a full-course caution. Running ninth at the time, Hinchcliffe remained on track and inherited the lead. The race would see only three more green-flag laps the rest of the way, allowing Hinchcliffe – whose lone pit stop came on Lap 13 – to keep the field at bay. It is the fifth win for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the team Hinchcliffe joined this season.

Castroneves logged his second straight top-five finish to open the 2015 campaign, giving the Brazilian 120 for his Indy car career, breaking a five-way tie for sixth on the all-time list.

“The Hitachi car was solid, but sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good and today we were lucky,” Castroneves said. “Second place feels like a win right now.”

James Jakes, Hinchcliffe’s teammate, came home third in the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda to earn his second career podium finish. Simona de Silvestro, driving the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda, placed fourth to equal the second-best finish of her Indy car career.

“The car was pretty good and the tricky conditions kind of played in our way and the team made a great call to come in at one point,” said de Silvestro. “It’s really cool, especially to be back here in IndyCar and especially with Andretti. It’s my second race with the team and finishing fourth, it’s great.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to open the season March 29, finished fifth today in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to retain the championship points lead with 84. He holds a 10-point advantage over Castroneves.

The race began with a wet track, but the first 15 laps were run caution-free as the entire field started on grooved Firestone rain tires. Teams began switching to the dry-condition slicks on Lap 11, but with portions of the 13-turn circuit still wet, numerous on-track incidents forced six full-course cautions for a total of 26 laps over the final 32 circuits.

Miles Impressed with NOLA Efforts

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, gave the NOLA staff “very high marks” for getting the facility race ready and continually addressing the changing conditions this weekend.

“The track itself has done a great job,” Miles said. “It’s a big deal to move from a club course to an Indy car track. I think they’ve done just about everything we could expect of them.”

NOLA Motorsports Park opened in 2012 as a local auto enthusiast facility with big dreams. The Verizon IndyCar Series event for 2015 was announced in August 2014. Extensive upgrades have occurred since, including the addition of grandstands and numerous track safety upgrades. Miles said it has shown worthy of hosting a series event, even if the weather this weekend didn’t fully cooperate.

“The facility itself has never really been used like this and, unfortunately because of the rain, is probably not being tested for how it would work when you have a full house,” he said. “I think it looks great; I think everybody is pleased.”

Miles said discussion is already under way about the 2016 race date. This weekend’s race conflicted with the popular French Quarter Festival in downtown New Orleans and, while inroads have been made in community awareness, a more fortuitous weekend could be a win-win situation. Miles firmly believes the NOLA race can become a “destination” event for the Verizon IndyCar Series, comparable with the Long Beach and Sonoma races in California and St. Petersburg, Fla.

“The perfect scenario locally and therefore for us would be if we can find a weekend when the weather’s good and we don’t have another major local event to compete with,” Miles added.

Of Note

Thomas Morstead, punter for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, was grand marshal for the race and issued the command to start engines. … Todd Phillips, crewman for Dale Coyne Racing who was injured in a pit lane incident when Francesco Dracone spun in the pits, received stitches in his lower right leg at the track medical center and was released. … Santiago Urrutia (Team Pelfrey) led all 11 laps in wet conditions to win the first Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires race, which had been postponed from the day before. Urrutia finished 3.0390 seconds ahead of runner-up Weiron Tan (Andretti Autosport). The second Pro Mazda race was canceled due to poor track conditions. … Victor Franzoni (Afterburner Autosport) took the lead when Aaron Telitz (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) went off course and drove on to victory in the second USF2000 presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend. Nico Jamin (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) was in hot pursuit of Franzoni but couldn’t overtake on the wet circuit, finishing 1.0153 seconds behind in second.

POST-RACE DRIVER QUOTES:

Marco Andretti (No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda): “I was hoping for more green laps, not only for myself to try and move forward, but for the show. It was a bit of a disappointment. Sitting under yellow is boring and we really wanted to get some good racing in. We’ll move on to Long Beach.”

Sebastien Bourdais (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs-KVSH Chevrolet): “It was a weird race obviously. We held our own throughout the race getting as high as fourth. The Mistic-Circle K car ran good in the wet and ran good as the track transitioned. Then the race just became a succession of cautions with restarts after restarts during which I made a couple of spots and lost a couple of spots. Because of all the cautions there were different strategies and as they played out we ended up having to pit when everybody behind us had already done so. The guys in back cycled to the front and we cycled to the back with the leaders. Then with all the cautions, the guys in back were able to stretch their fuel and on the last restart I was on the inside and Ryan (Hunter-Reay) came up and made it three wide with Simon (Pagenaud). Ryan pushed Simon into the grass. He then came back on track with no control and could not avoid collecting me, ending our race. It was never going to be a good day, but now with the damage to the car it is a shame because this was going to be my Indy 500 car.”

Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “First of all, I have to give congratulations to the entire track, and the entire Verizon IndyCar Series to keep pushing to have another round here. And congrats to the fans. I want to thank all the fans for the first race here at NOLA and we have to keep going. The track conditions were really difficult because there were areas where there was a stream of water on the race track and it was very difficult for us to keep the cars on there. Now talking about the Hitachi boys, man, you guys are awesome. We had a little bit of a misunderstanding because the guy I hit, I thought he was two laps down. I knew he wasn’t battling for the lead and unfortunately, when I got the nose chopped, the information was a little bit iffy. But at the end of the day, Roger, Jonathan and everybody never gave up. I never gave up and at the end of the day to be taking second place – it’s a very happy day.”

Stefano Coletti (No. 4 Variable Bore Rams – KVRT Chevrolet): “The race started on wets and the No. 4 Variable Bore Rams – KVRT car was quick. I managed to go from 20th to 10th before I pitted around lap 12 for slicks. When I started pushing, the yellow flag came out a few laps later and on the restart I tried to pass on the straight but found a big puddle. This caused me to spin and hit the barrier hard and I had to return to the pits to change the rear wing. The crew did a great job because the studs on the gearbox that mount the new rear wing had broken off, so they had to fix that first and in the end managed to get me going, but three laps down. The rest of the race was pretty much under yellow and there was nothing I could really do to catch up. It wasn’t the result that we expected and I feel bad for my sponsor this weekend, Variable Bore Rams, Inc. We had good speed all weekend and the team gave me a great car so we will see what happens at Long Beach next weekend.”

Scott Dixon (No. 9 Brita Chevrolet): “It’s a shame we didn’t get much green-flag racing in today here at NOLA. I wish we could have gotten more racing in with the dry conditions after the start. Our Brita car was really fast in the last dry practice session of the weekend so we were optimistic for the race. It’s just one of those things where you spend a lot of time under the yellow flag.”

Francesco Dracone (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Obviously that was a scary situation in the pit late. I’m glad to hear that Todd (Philips), my chief mechanic, will be alright with just a cut on his leg. This just shows how dangerous it is for every member of the team in racing. It is an unfortunate way to end the race but Todd’s health is the most important thing right now.”

Luca Filippi (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I think we did everything right. Both Josef (Newgarden) and I were probably going to have a top seven or eight finish. Obviously, a few people got very lucky on the strategy in the middle of race. But another Top 10 finish is okay, especially on a strange day like this. Today’s finish was not quite what we were looking for, but it’s a solid way to continue our championship.

Jack Hawksworth (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “On a restart, someone spun in front of me and I had nowhere to go and we hit and I ended up in the tire barrier. It was very unfortunate and there was nothing we could do about it. It’s not been a good weekend on any front. We need to analyze what went wrong and put it behind us. The good thing about this series is there’s always another race next weekend so we can put it behind us.”

James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda, race winner): “When we first decided to stay out, I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if we could make this a one-stopper. I just never thought it (would happen). On one hand, I feel badly that we didn’t have more green-flag laps for the fans and everybody here at NOLA, but on the other hand, those guys called it awesome. The car was unbelievable on the (Firestone) reds. We pulled away from a couple of Penskes on those restarts. If we had gone green, I think we could’ve held them off at the end as long as we had the fuel. I’m just so happy.”

Carlos Huertas (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “I screwed up. That area of the track was really bad. I don’t think I did anything crazy but I think the angle of the car when I put a little bit of power was too much to the right and I lost the car. I think that mistake probably cost us a podium looking at how the race played out. I don’t know if I could have won the race but I was there with a chance to win it today. My mistake is the only reason we finished where we did.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We had a great race going, had some good clean racing there with (Graham) Rahal, (Will) Power – even (Simon) Pagenaud, we went side by side through Turn 10 there. It was some good racing. Then we got down to Turn 3… I’m pedaling the car all the way out, it’s loose, there’s just no more room for (Pagenaud) to be out there. (Sebastien) Bourdais, is on my left, I don’t know where to go at that point. I’m using my regular racing line – (Pagenaud) stuck his nose out there (and was off the racing line)… And just cleans us all out. I’m happy all three of us are uninjured. (Pagenaud) said I ran him out of room, but there just was no room in the first place. I don’t know what to say to that – it’s certainly a racing incident but there wasn’t a whole lot of room there to begin with. Disappointing way to end the day, we were looking for a strong finish with the DHL Honda.”

James Jakes (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “We had the pace this weekend, it was just being patient. Yesterday, we had the speed to get in the (Firestone) Fast Six, but qualifying was canceled. It was frustrating, but it paid off today. We needed that after St. Pete. We haven’t had the pace from the start of the year. It’s not all our fault, but hopefully this is the first of many.”

Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing started the race really strong and I was running up in the top five quite a bit there at the beginning. We were one of the first cars to change to slicks and I just came into a corner a little too fast with cold tires and ended up in the grass. We lost some spots there, but it allowed the team to use my position to our benefit and we were able to get a lot of fuel on the yellows and run as hard as we could when it went green. I think I was running all the way back in 19th at one point. So it just shows how much the team and my engineers and strategists came together to get the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet a sixth-place finish.”

Sage Karam (No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet): “It wasn’t the day we had hoped for in the Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records car. We had spins, I made mistakes and the race just never really got going enough to get in a good rhythm. I hate it for the team and my guys. I learned a lot today out there and will go back and talk everything over with the team to get a game plan together on how we can improve on our performance.”

Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Obviously, it was a tough day for everyone, but I’m glad we were able to get some laps in for the fans. It’s a great race track that NOLA Motorsports Park has put a lot of work into and we’re just happy we were able to get the race in. It’s just disappointing because all four of the Chip Ganassi Racing cars were quick in wet and dry conditions, we just never got the chance to completely show it. With qualifying being cancelled the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet had to start toward the back, so it was going to be an uphill battle the entire race. We have a quick turnaround this week heading into my home state of California for the Long Beach race, but I know Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing will be ready to go on Sunday.”

Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, series points leader): “We definitely had a fast Verizon Chevy today and it’s good to come away from NOLA with a top five. I think it’s one of those deals where we kind of caught a break yesterday starting on pole with the weather but our luck went the other way today. The cool thing is two races in a row to start the season Team Penske has had the fastest cars and I am very excited about that. I’m looking forward to getting back to Long Beach next week. Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling there.”

Carlos Munoz (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): “It was a really unusual race with all the cautions. At the end of the day, it was only strategy and to be lucky with the yellow flags – we didn’t get it right. The whole race I was in the top 10… It’s a shame of a weekend to not qualify; we started 14th because of points. Now we have to focus on the next race.”

Josef Newgarden (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): “The thing I am happy about is that we got a Top 10 on a difficult day. It could have gone a lot better for us. We struggled a little bit on the wet, but when it was going dry we were very strong as a group and we didn’t get to capitalize on that. Too many cautions, too many yellows, and it just didn’t play in our favor. That’s racing. Sometimes it falls your way and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m just happy we managed a Top 10. That’s good points but obviously leaves us wanting more. We will regroup, go to Long Beach, and keep chasing it.”

Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): “Really too bad about the finish because the Penske Truck Rental Chevy was really fast. It handled great in traffic and we looked like we were heading toward a good result. I’m not sure what Hunter-Reay was thinking there. He just drove us off the track and I’m just glad everyone is OK. I want to thank the fans for staying with us this weekend despite the weather. I think the No. 22 Chevy team will be able to come back strong at Long Beach.”

Graham Rahal (No. 15 D-A Lubricant Company Honda): “In the wet, the car was really good and I was able to move my way up quickly and get a good spot to contend the rest of the day. I had a couple of good restarts, picked off a couple more spots but unfortunately, in the end, the guys up front got lucky with the yellows and strategy. We played it right but unfortunately it just didn’t stay green. There was nothing we could do about that. I thought we had a car that was pretty capable today, particularly in the wet. We just didn’t get to see it through though the way the race played out.”

Simona de Silvestro (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “It was huge to get the race like this. Honestly we struggled the whole weekend. We weren’t where we wanted to be. The race, you know, the car was pretty good and the tricky conditions kind of played in our way and the team made a great call to come in at one point. It’s really cool. You know, especially to be back here in IndyCar and especially with Andretti. It’s my second race with the team and finishing fourth. It’s great. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Takuma Sato (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “A difficult weekend continues. It was very tricky conditions because we started the race quite wet but the rain had stopped. The line was getting drier every lap. We struggled with the grip and balance so we decided to come in relatively early for slicks. We picked up good pace and gained some positions. Then on a restart Charlie Kimball & someone else tangled and came back to me and we had contact. It broke the sidepod and the wire loom so I couldn’t shift. Tough day.”

Uruguay’s Urrutia Wins Abbreviated Pro Mazda Weekend in New Orleans

New Orleans, La. – Heavy thunderstorms forced a condensed schedule and then caused the second race to be canceled altogether when the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires paid its first-ever “regular” season visit to NOLA Motorsports Park for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Louisiana. Through it all, Uruguayan rookie Santiago Urrutia displayed an astonishing turn of pace as he took the lead at the start in the lone 20-minute race and held on to win in just his third Pro Mazda start.

The race, which was postponed from yesterday and eventually saw the green flag at 8:00 am this morning, produced a stunning performance from Urrutia, 18, who pounced on pole-sitting Malaysian Weiron Tan on the first lap, then controlled the pace to score an accomplished victory for Team Pelfrey.

Urrutia had arrived in North America this season virtually unheralded after competing in the European F3 Open and GP3 over the past few years, but he used that experience to excellent effect as he stormed into the lead on Lap One. The move earned him the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award. Tan (Andretti Autosport), who won races last year in the German Formula 3 series and led the way in one of the three Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Winterfest pre-season mini-series races at NOLA in February, was obliged to tuck in behind.

Tan kept the pressure on Urrutia in the diabolical conditions but could never quite get close enough to attempt to regain the lead and had to settle for second.

Frenchman Timothe Buret drove well for Juncos Racing to finish third ahead of Urrutia’s impressive Mexican teammate Pato O’Ward, the youngest driver in the field at just 15, who set the fastest lap of the race before settling for fourth. Frenchman Florian Latorre, who won the 2014 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and a MAZDASPEED scholarship to graduate into Pro Mazda, the next step on the acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy, qualified third for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing but slipped back to a distant fifth by the finish, ahead of teammate and championship points leader Neil Alberico.

Dalton Kellett (Andretti Autosport) claimed the Quartermaster Hard Charger Award after advancing four positions from 11th on the grid to seventh, while the PFC Award went to the winning car owner, Dale Pelfrey.

Race Two had been due to start at 11:30 but was canceled due to worsening weather conditions.

Next on the docket for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires competitors are a pair of races, once again in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on April 24-26.

Santiago Urrutia (#81 Ancap/BSE/Ante/Corporacion de Maguinaria/AgroLavalle/Fadisol-Team Pelfrey): “I had a better start than Weiron and in the first corner, I tried to brake a little later than him on the outside and I was able to pass him. But he was quick, and he tried many times to overtake me but he wasn’t able to. The rain was really bad toward the end of the race; it was very difficult, especially since it was my first time driving this car in the rain. But it’s a really good start for me. I’m very happy to get a win in only my third Pro Mazda race. Team Pelfrey is doing a great job. We’re working really hard to get the results. The championship is so close, everyone is doing well. In qualifying, 11 cars were within one second. But we have many more races, so we have to keep going in this way.”

Franzoni Shines in the Louisiana Rain to Claim Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Win

New Orleans, La. – Second-year drivers put their experience to good use in this morning’s Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Louisiana, held in extremely wet conditions. Brazilian Victor Franzoni proved to be the cream of the crop as he rose from second on the grid to take his first win of the young season for Afterburner Autosport.

Franzoni was pushed to the limit by yesterday’s winner in dry conditions, Frenchman Nico Jamin (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), as championship leader Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing) trailed in third. The result moved Jamin to within seven points of Eidson, 108-101, after three rounds of the 16-race Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season.

Jamin’s teammate, Aaron Telitz, started from the pole by virtue of posting the fastest lap during yesterday’s race, but his advantage lasted for only two laps before Franzoni found a way past in Turn Four. Moments later, Telitz slithered off the track in Turn Seven to bring out a full-course caution. The miscue ended the Wisconsin native’s sequence of second-place finishes.

Franzoni kept his nerve at the restart, despite intense pressure from Jamin as the two leaders quickly distanced themselves from Eidson in third. Jamin was slightly quicker on Lap Nine, but Franzoni responded in fine style by proving slightly faster on each of the final two laps of the weather-shortened race to secure the victory by 1.0153 seconds.

Australian rookie Jordan Lloyd rose as high as fourth for John Cummiskey Racing before sliding off the road during the caution and falling to eighth. Garth Rickards (Team Pelfrey) took up the running, only to spin at Turn Eight soon after the restart. Instead it was Canadian Parker Thompson who emerged in a fine fourth for JDC MotorSports. The young Canadian rookie, who is mentored by 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, drove impressively after a quick spin in the treacherous conditions had dropped him to 11th in the early stages.

Lloyd recovered to sixth place, crossing the finish line virtually alongside teammate Anthony Martin, who claimed the Tilton Hard Charger Award after making up five positions from 10th on the grid. Another strong run saw 15-year-old German Keyvan Andres Soori finish seventh for ArmsUp Motorsports.

Other contingency awards included the PFC Award to the winning car owner, Tim Walsh of Afterburner Autosport, and the Staubli Award to Franzoni, who also claimed the Replay XD Move of the Race for his pass for the lead on Lap Three.

The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will continue in two weeks’ time at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., where all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy will run in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Victor Franzoni (#17 Novac Sports/XYV Talents/E-QUAL-Afterburner Autosport): “I finished fourth yesterday but we had a mechanical problem and it took until 11:00 p.m. last night to fix it. The Afterburner guys worked so hard and I’m very grateful to them. I started second and at the race start, I couldn’t see anything with all the spray. Then, when I took the lead, I had Nico pushing me, so I had to keep racing hard! It was a very difficult race, with the track so wet, but I’m very happy to be back on the podium and to win my first race this season.”

Jamin Romps to Debut Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Victory in New Orleans

Avondale, La. – Frenchman Nico Jamin scored an emphatic maiden victory this afternoon when the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda made its first visit to NOLA Motorsports Park for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Louisiana.

Nico Trophy Race 1

The 19-year-old Frenchman qualified his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing Van Diemen-Mazda on pole this morning and took full advantage as he romped clear of the battling pack on the opening lap. Teammate Aaron Telitz found himself fully occupied in fending off the attention of Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing), which allowed Jamin to open up a commanding lead of almost two seconds by the end of Lap One.

Jamin was never seriously challenged as Telitz and Eidson remained locked in combat for second, with Victor Franzoni (Afterburner Autosport), who started sixth, also joining in the fun. The Brazilian actually lost a couple of places at the start but secured the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award for regaining them – plus two more positions – during a fraught opening lap.

USF2000 Race 1 Start

The trio of challengers all turned slightly faster laps than the race leader, earning themselves the top three positions on the starting grid for tomorrow’s second leg of the double-header, but there was no catching Jamin, who, after finishing third in the first two races of the season two weeks ago at St. Petersburg, Fla., took the checkered flag 2.0124 seconds to the good.

Telitz finished second for the third consecutive race, while Eidson, who won both races in Florida, had to settle for third.

Franzoni secured his best result of the new season in fourth, followed by Australian Jordan Lloyd, best of the rookie contingent, for John Cummiskey Racing.

Germany’s Keyvan Andres Soori (ArmsUp Motorsports), the youngest driver in the field at just 15, held off a determined challenge from Canadian rookie Parker Thompson (JDC MotorSports) to match his career-best finish, sixth, which he achieved last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit.

A last-lap incident involving Anthony Martin (John Cummiskey Racing), Yufeng Luo (Pabst Racing) and Garth Rickards (Team Pelfrey) allowed MAZDASPEED/Skip Barber Racing Scholarship winner Luke Gabin to jump from 11th to eighth, while Team Pelfrey stable-mates Ayla Agren and Nikita Lastochkin completed the top 10.

Lastochkin took home the Tilton Hard Charger Award for moving up three places during the race from his 13th starting position. The PFC Award was presented to the winning car owners, brothers Dominic and Nicholas Cape, while the Staubli Award was presented to Jamin.

Race Two for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Louisiana is schedule to begin tomorrow morning at 10:15 am CDT pending schedule review. Live timing and commentary will be available at on the Mazda Road to Indy App and at http://mixlr.com/mazda-road-to-indy/.

Nico Jamin (#2 Synova Automotive Eco-Plastics-Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing): “I had a good Cooper Tires Winterfest at NOLA so when I came here I was pretty confident. Everyone on the Cape team has worked hard since St. Petersburg, because Jake [Eidson] was a little bit faster than us there. So it’s a very big day for me, my first pole and my first victory. After the first lap, I could see the guys behind me were fighting hard and I knew that was good for me. We were turning good lap times and I just focused on that. It was good to beat Jake, because of his points lead. It will be wet tomorrow so I have to do the same as today and make sure not to make any mistakes. We did well in the wet at Winterfest so hopefully we’ll do as well tomorrow.”

Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana Qualifying Results

AVONDALE, La. – Qualifying Saturday for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana Verizon IndyCar Series event at the 2.74-mile NOLA Motorsports Park, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine. Field set by entrant points after qualifications were rained out.

1. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevy
2. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy
3. (10) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy
4. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy
5. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Chevy
6. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy
7. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda
8. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Dallara-Honda
9. (20) Luca Filippi, Dallara-Chevy
10. (27) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda
11. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda
12. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy
13. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda
14. (26) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Honda
15. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevy
16. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda
17. (98) Gabby Chaves, Dallara-Honda
18. (25) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda
19. (8) Sage Karam, Dallara-Chevy
20. (4) Stefano Coletti, Dallara-Chevy
21. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Chevy
22. (7) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda
23. (19) Francesco Dracone, Dallara-Honda
24. (18) Carlos Huertas, Dallara-Honda

NOLA Qualification Rainout Puts Montoya on Pole

AVONDALE, La. (April 11, 2015) – Faced with starting deep in the field for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana after spinning out early during a wet Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying session, points leader Juan Pablo Montoya benefitted from a rainout that promoted him to the front of the grid.

Due to the cancelled session, the starting grid for the April 12 race at NOLA Motorsports Park will be set by entrant points, per INDYCAR rules. Since Montoya won the only race thus far in 2015 – the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29 – he will start up front for the debut event on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn permanent road course outside New Orleans. The driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was well aware of his good fortune.

“It kind of gave me a little smile,” Montoya said of the rainout, “but it is what it is. … We were lucky, but at the same time, that’s why you lead the points. When you have days like this, it will pay off.”

Will Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Montoya’s teammate, will start on the outside of Row 1 in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet by virtue of his second-place St. Petersburg finish. Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) and Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) will occupy Row 2. When they take the green flag for the race, it will mark the 296th career start for Kanaan and 297th for Castroneves, with Kanaan also extending his Indy car record for consecutive starts to 235.

Fueled by the first victory of the season and strong starting positions among his teammates, Montoya feels prepared for the 75-lap race.

“I’m normally pretty good in the rain,” the 39-year-old Colombian and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner said. “Today we struggled, but it is what it is. We think we know what happened and we made a change based on how you’re thinking you’re going to be good here and it wasn’t. … I felt we had a pretty good car (in practice). I still feel like to win the race we need a tenth or two (of a second), to be a little quicker. We’re just going to make some changes for tomorrow and we’ll see what happens with the weather. That’s the big question mark.”

Teams will have a final chance to dial in their cars in the April 12 warm-up session at 11 a.m. ET. Broadcast coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the green flag to be waved at approximately 2:45 p.m.

Clauson Planning to Complete ‘Indiana Double’ in May

Bryan Clauson, who will drive the KVSH/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing entry in next month’s Indianapolis 500, plans to complete his own racing double May 24 by also racing in the sprint car race at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway that night. The Kokomo Klassic will run on the quarter-mile clay oval about an hour north of Indianapolis.

“I’m excited to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Kokomo Speedway on the same day,” said Clauson, the USAC Silver Crown, sprint car and midgets star whose lone Indy 500 start to date came in 2012. “Kokomo’s my absolute favorite place to be on a Sunday night and I’m always telling people to get out there, so I’m pretty pumped to be running this double.”

Of Note:

Sir Patrick Stewart, best known for his roles in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the X-Men film franchise, will serve as grand marshal for the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 19. The acclaimed stage and screen actor is a racing enthusiast who competed in the 2002 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on the streets of Long Beach. Adrian Fernandez, an 11-time Indy car race winner, will serve as the Verizon IndyCar Series race’s honorary starter. … Boyd Gaming Corporation has partnered with CFH Racing for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. One of the nation’s largest casino entertainment companies, Boyd Gaming will have two of its local properties represented on the No. 67 Chevrolet driven by Josef Newgarden. … Pole sitter Nico Jamin got the jump at the start and led all 11 laps of the Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda race, winning by 2.0124 seconds over Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Aaron Telitz in the first of two races this weekend. … The Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires race was postponed until Sunday, meaning both races of the ladder series’ doubleheader weekend will take place on the same day.

POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “I thought we were better than 10th in the wet, I just can only go as quick as the spray ahead of me because I couldn’t see. I start 10th on points, and would have been 10th based on what little running we did do – so it was a toss up either way. We’ll work hard tomorrow and make something happen from there.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet): “It was wet. So we had issues with the dry and in wet. The team is doing a phenomenal job. The Hitachi car was actually very consistent, but unfortunately it was consistent in the back. The good news is, it sounds like the race is going to be wet and we have some stuff we could have done. For me, I couldn’t see very well. I was actually following Juan Pablo (Montoya) until he spun out and I said ‘Oh, no man, you were my reference.’ It is just one of those things. We have two of our boys in the hunt. Roger will have to throw very good strategy on Sunday and see what happens.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Brita Chevrolet): “It’s really a shame we didn’t get qualifying in today. The weather just hasn’t been cooperative for us this weekend here at NOLA. Our Brita car was fast though. We paced the practice session and were in a position to advance in the limited qualifying session we ran so I guess we did the best we could today. Hopefully the weather is better for tomorrow and we can get the race in for the fans.”

FRANCESCO DRACONE (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Yes, well, it is raining as everybody can see! But seriously, it has been difficult driving this qualifying session in the rain because I had no reference and zero kilometers in this car in the rain. It is much better under braking in the wet than cars I’ve raced in the past. The positive thing is that we are getting closer and closer to the other top cars. I would be happy to race in the rain tomorrow or in the dry. I think the most important thing to me is to have it clear one way or the other. Hopefully the weather won’t put as many question marks on the day as it did today.”

LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “Again the result of St. Petersburg and starting the season well becomes even more important. Regarding today, I think the right call was to do what they did and cancel the rest of the session. From my point of view we have a good car on the wet. So if tomorrow we have a wet race, I am confident and looking forward to having a good race.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “I thought we made the car better in the morning because we were quite a bit closer to the top speed in the dry track conditions compared to yesterday. We closed that gap by almost 120%. We still have to find some pace but we’re in the ballpark and we have one more warm-up to fine-tune that gap to the front. We’ll be starting on points, so we start eighth and hopefully we’ll have a good race tomorrow.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Well that qualifying in the wet was difficult. I think I could have done a bit better but I was aquaplaning a lot. It seemed to get a bit more difficult towards the end when I was pushing for the top 6. It will be interesting to see what the weather is like tomorrow. I won my race last year in the rain so it might help us but who knows.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “I think we are heading in a right direction… disappointed we didn’t get to finish qualifying in the rain because I think the DHL car was pretty quick – we were second in our group (when the session was called for rain). I think with another shot at it, we could have had a shot at the pole. We’ll see. Tomorrow will be interesting with the weather as well.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “The No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet has just been so good all weekend here and it’s disappointing that we weren’t able to continue with qualifying to see what it could do in the rain. I’ve had some luck in the past driving in the rain on race day and I expect that’s probably what it will look like tomorrow, so I’m ready to go. We’ll still start third tomorrow which isn’t bad at all, but I really wanted that pole position here and I felt like we had a really good shot at it.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution / Big Machine Records Chevrolet): “I thought the COMFORT REVOLUTION/Big Machine Records car was good today. We had a great practice session finishing P5 and I was excited for qualifying. With the rain we obviously didn’t get to show what the car was capable of but I guess the silver lining was that we know we have a fast car. We’ll just have to use that speed tomorrow, pass some cars, be patient with traffic and have a good result.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I’m mostly disappointed for the fans that we couldn’t make it all the way through qualifying. NOLA Motorsports Park has done such a great job of making sure they’re putting on a good event for the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Team Chevy aero kits ran really well in the rain and we had great grip. There were some puddles where we were hydroplaning, but any time you get cars this fast on a wet surface that’ll happen. Overall I was happy with the car and Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. It’s unfortunate that we have to start on entrant points, but if there’s one thing my team does well it’s fighting back to overcome obstacles.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, series points leader): “We were lucky, but at the same time that’s why you need the points, when you have days like this, it will pay off. You know, we try something a little different for qualifying, and we made a mistake there with the set up, but it is what it is. I think our car was actually pretty good. I didn’t get to run the entire practice session in the morning. Like I put new tires on my fast lap I got, the red flag came out, and on the lap I was actually up to the point I was running I was on pace with Simon, and Simon was P3 or whatever he was, so I thought we had a pretty good car. You know, I still feel like to win the race, I feel like we need a tenth or two to be a little quicker. Going to make some changes for tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens with the weather now. That is the big question mark. I think INDYCAR did a great job today making an effort to run the qualifying. I think that was a ballsy call, and I think that’s what it takes. I think it was great.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): “Today was really a shame. We were looking okay after today’s practice when we were P6. I think in the rain, after the first qualifying, I was feeling really good, really strong for the qualifying in the wet. Tomorrow we start 14th so we’ll see what happens.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It’s a shame we couldn’t run the whole session, this is actually a very fun track in the rain. There’s just some drainage issues. It’s a little difficult with the pooling of water in areas, so you get some hydroplaning. I think our car was great. We’ve had good cars here since rolling off the truck and I think they were good in the rain. If it rains tomorrow, we would be alright as we were pretty quick. It’s just a matter of if we would be able to make the race work with the drainage. But hopefully we don’t get any rain tomorrow and it just makes it a lot easier on everyone. I think we’re in a good position to try and attack and get a good result tomorrow.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): “I really hate it for the fans that came out today because they didn’t get a chance to see a full qualifying session. Once the lightning came it was pretty apparent that we wouldn’t get back out as it was really starting to rain at that time. If we race in the rain tomorrow I feel really good about my Penske Truck Rental Chevy, based on how it drove today. We still have a few things we can do to better prepare for the wet. We’ll do our best to control the things that are in our control.”

WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “You hate to start an inaugural race with a rain-shortened qualifying session, but you have to give credit to INDYCAR. They did everything they could to get qualifying in. I was fairly happy with the Verizon Chevy in the wet and would’ve liked to finish all the rounds. We will start the race from a great spot, though, and we will deal with whatever Mother Nature throws our way tomorrow.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 D-A Lubricant Company Honda): “I didn’t get much time on track (in qualifying) so I don’t have much to say about the session. I was just trying to get a gap to attack and do a lap. The car actually felt pretty good on the few turns I did but unfortunately the fans came out today and we didn’t put on a show for them which is disappointing. I think we will be okay starting 11th. This team can work hard, give me some good stops to move forward and I will try to make some good restarts and we will move our way forward.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “Today was pretty disappointing – I think the whole day hasn’t been great. We’ll have a long race tomorrow, but hopefully we can make things happen during the race. I think we’re going to work a lot on the race setup and myself and we should be good for the race.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Disappointing day. We’re not performing well under the dry track conditions and it’s the same in the wet at this track, so we need to find out what’s wrong with it and make changes.”

Kanaan Leads Opening Day of Practice at NOLA Motorsports Park

AVONDALE, La. (Friday, April 10, 2015) – Tony Kanaan, who will make his 296th career Indy car start this weekend, posted the quickest lap in the first practice session for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

It was a good first day for Kanaan as he shoots for the Verizon P1 Award in qualifications Saturday, then goes for the win in the 75-lap race Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at NOLA Motorsports Park.

Kanaan, driving the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, recorded a lap of 1 minute, 18.8753 seconds (125.058 mph) on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn road course during the 90-minute session early in the afternoon. A heavy rainstorm delayed the second practice session and limited track time in dry conditions, so no one was able to surpass Kanaan’s best lap from the opening session.

“It’s still really early in the weekend, but finishing P1 in our first practice session on this track is a good feeling,” said Kanaan, who earned his 119th career top-five finish in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29.

“The car tested really well here a few weeks ago, so I was confident that we had a good car coming into this weekend. It was much hotter this afternoon than it’s been when we’ve tested here in the past, so our lap times were much slower, but the track is still really good. Like I said, we still have a ways to go before the race, but it’s definitely a good start.

“The track looks good,” continued Kanaan. “Big props to the people in New Orleans. People know about the race, people know what’s going on and those are the places we want to come.”

Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power, who was runner-up to Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya two weeks ago on the St. Petersburg street circuit, posted the second-quickest lap (1:18.9292) today. Kanaan’s teammate, three-time series champion Scott Dixon, was third on the time chart (1:18.9662). KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais (1:19.2563) was fourth and first-year Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud (1:19.2782) was fifth.

Chevrolet-powered cars took the top seven positions in practice, with James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports the fastest Honda in eighth (1:19.4764). Fifteen of the 24 drivers were within one second of Kanaan’s quick lap.

A 45-minute practice is scheduled Saturday preceding the three rounds of qualifications (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

NOLA Trophies Take on Local Flair

The trophies to be presented to the podium finishers and winning team owner following the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana capture the personality of the Big Easy, state and – through extension – venue owner Dr. Laney Chouest and his wife, Ruth.

There’s a bit of whimsy, too. On the translucent turquoise body of the champion’s trophy are two alligators biting each other’s tails. An alligator preparing to take a bite out of a tire is on the second- and third-place trophies. A red fleur de lis is atop all the trophies. Local artist Marshall Gaudet was commissioned to create them.

“I’ve been in the art community for a long time and, when I’m thinking about a trophy, I’m going to the art community,” said Ruth Chouest, a jeweler by trade. “I don’t want to go to a trophy maker. I just love the strength of it and it conveys the ferocious, wild nature of this sport.

“To me, turquoise became an obvious choice because turquoise and red are complementary colors. Also, it brought in this funky Indian, Louisiana feel. I’m sure that the racing community in general doesn’t see this kind of stuff.”

Coletti Eager to Race for Louisiana-based Sponsor

Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Stefano Coletti is excited to be racing at NOLA Motorsports Park this weekend for a couple reasons: He enjoys the track and he’s carrying the colors of a locally based sponsor.

Coletti is piloting No. 4 Variable Bore Rams-KV Racing Technology Chevrolet in the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. The genesis of the sponsorship dates to a chance vacation meeting between KVRT co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven and VBR president Hines “Chip” Marshall, Jr. Kalkhoven invited Marshall to the 2012 Indianapolis 500, which led to VBR becoming an associate sponsor on Tony Kanaan’s Indy 500-winning car in 2013.

Marshall decided to sponsor Coletti’s car for the inaugural NOLA event to thank Louisianans for their support of VBR, based in Broussard, La., and celebrating its 35th anniversary in June.

“I thought this would be a great way to show my appreciation to the people of Louisiana, the way I feel about them,” Marshall said. “And do something fun for a change.”

Coletti is eager to attack the NOLA track. He was among the many who tested here in the pre-season, but there have been a host of safety improvements addressed since then.

“All the changes they made on the track were great,” Coletti said. “They put a lot of gravel beds around (in runoffs) and I think they moved some tire barriers and they made it a lot safer. I like the track. The first time I came here, I thought the track was a lot of fun to drive. I think it’s going to be better this way. I think there’s still some improvements to do, but they came a long way and I think we have to thank the people from the track for doing all this effort.”

Of Note:

A black flag indicator (text and/or light) is mandatory in the dash/steering wheel configuration for each Verizon IndyCar Series entry starting this weekend, according to the rulebook. It will be triggered through the timing transponder by race control. … All Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda cars are carrying “Get well soon MJ” stickers for their weekend races at NOLA to honor Pro Mazda driver Michael Johnson, who was injured in a practice session crash at St. Petersburg on March 27. Kyle Connery, teammate of Johnson’s at JDC MotorSports, has a sticker on his helmet that reads “Get Well Michael.”

FRIDAY QUOTES:

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet, fastest of the day): “It’s still really early in the weekend, but finishing P1 in our first practice session on this track is a good feeling. The car tested really well here a few weeks ago, so I was confident that we had a good car coming into this weekend. It was much hotter this afternoon than it’s been when we’ve tested here in the past, so our lap times were much slower but the track is still really good. Like I said, we still have a ways to go before the race, but it’s definitely a good start for the No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet.”

WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, second fastest of the day): “It’s really cool (NOLA Motorsports Park). Really fun. The two road courses that I absolutely love are this track and the Indy road course. They are just a lot of fun and have very similar flows to them.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We tried a lot of things today on the Verizon car. I wasn’t really happy with the balance of the car this morning. We still have a ways to go. It was a lot of fun to get out there and get some laps when the track was drying. We don’t know what the weather will do tomorrow or Sunday, so we’ll just have to see what it brings for the rest of the weekend.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “To be honest, we still have some work to do here at NOLA. We are close but we still need to find a little more. We did want to make a few changes to the Hitachi car between the morning practice and the afternoon session, but the rain kind of hurt that. It was good to get back out there for a few laps after the track dried, but we weren’t able to do too much with it. We will try to see what we can do on Saturday.”

STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 Variable Bore Rams – KVRT Chevrolet): “We have had a great day in the No. 4 Variable Bore Rams – KV Racing Technology car. We worked through a lot of things in the first practice session and ended up finishing P6. The second session was shortened due to the rain and the track was still half wet and half dry, but we were able to get a few good laps in at the end and finished P4. We still have some work to do in Practice 3 tomorrow and then hopefully we will have a good qualifying session in the afternoon.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet): “We went out to get a baseline feel for the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet in the first session to better the car and the balance. At the end of the session, I was pretty pleased with the car. We took a new set of black tires, but I struggled to get a clean lap. It’s good to know there’s speed in the car. The track had rubbered in a bit this morning for more grip, but with the rain all that will be gone for tomorrow.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Brita Chevrolet): “In the first practice session we worked on balance overall. The Brita car was too loose on new tire runs, but I think that will translate to faster lap times when we go to the alternate red Firestone tires. We had a fair amount of traffic at the end when we tried to put a lap together, so I think there is more left in the car. Overall the team has good speed in all four cars and that’s a great way to unload here at NOLA and get started.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs-KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “It was a good day. We thought we were going to get rained out and that didn’t happen, at least for the first practice. I am really happy with the Mistic E-Cigs car. The crew did a really good job. We unloaded pretty strong. Then we tried some things and it didn’t make it better. We had other ideas for this afternoon, but the weather decided otherwise. Overall, I am pretty optimistic for this weekend.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply Co. AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “It was a difficult first day for NOLA. The first session, we were struggling with the grip level and the balance when the track was dry and we had to go through a lot of items and data to figure out why. In the second session, the track conditions were a little tricky because it was damp but towards the end it was 80-90 percent dry but there were still a couple damp spots. It’s relative but the car improved a lot and the car is in the ballpark. It was a good improvement and we were very happy that we were able to run the second session to check it out.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 D-A Lubricant Company Honda): “We didn’t have the best first session, but I really do feel that we learned a lot and figured some stuff out with the car. We’re going to go back more towards what we ran here at the test, which will probably help us. The track temp was so much warmer today than when we tested here. It’s really kind of hard to tell exactly where we need to be with the car setup but I think we’ll be OK. We have learned a lot and the guys are doing a great job. We’ll just keep working hard on this thing and get it better and better. We’re not far off, it’s just so competitive. We’ll be there; we’ll be fine. There wasn’t much to be learned in the wet session, but we had a couple of things we wanted to check and were able to do that.” (On racing in the rain): “Racing in the rain is always a different art. I think the biggest thing here is to see how the drainage will be. We’re going to have to see how that plays out. It is a permanent road course so that should help versus some of the street courses.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “This morning was OK. I think the pace was decent even though we had a bit of problem on the second set of tires. It was a bit unfortunate I couldn’t improve my times. There were a lot of red flags; I even spun myself. I don’t really know what happened when I spun. I lost the rear before the apex, which is quite strange. Maybe I touched the grass under braking or something. Overall, it was a good session. It is interesting because the track was really different from when we tested here, but I think we have a good dry setup.”

FRANCESCO DRACONE (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “The morning session was positive and the car is doing really well. Carlos (Huertas) has been very fast and consistent. From my side, I made a few mistakes and my good laps were ruined by red flags. It is difficult waiting for the track to dry because I just want to go out and run. I think we had a good setup this morning due to the testing we did here. Unfortunately, I was not able to drive as fast as I had hoped, but the car is great and the team has done a great job.”

LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “This morning was a bit of a messy session with many yellows and red flags so it was a bit difficult to find a rhythm. I feel confident that we didn’t really express our potential. Josef (Newgarden) did well and I think we were able to get close to him, so it’s good that we are working toward the right direction. The car is getting where we want. We have to be positive and tomorrow I think will be a good day for us.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “This afternoon’s session was much better, definitely. It was a little short, but I think we improved a lot from the first session. We still have some work to do, but looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): “Our day on track was a bit shortened because of the weather conditions, and the first session had a lot of red flags, so we didn’t get as much green time as we would have liked. For sure, we are already more competitive than we were in St. Petersburg. In the second session, when the track was drying up, the people who got the most laps out of it, of course, were quickest in the end. Anyways, we have to focus on tomorrow. Tomorrow the weather also looks really inconsistent – a chance of rain again – so we’ll see what happens.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda): “With the delays, the second session was extended a bit and we ended up running out of fuel when the track was under the best conditions. We just never really got the clean laps we needed to gauge things and get quick times. We were on a good lap when (James) Jakes spun in front of me – I was on a lap for a quick time right there. We’ll pull together and hope for more tomorrow.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “It was an incomplete day for us with the DHL Honda. In the first session we never really got going in our changes. We were trying some big experiments with some of the aero package that didn’t end up panning out for us, so we ended up going fastest in our first outing – which was unfortunate. But we were able to get a little track time at the end of the day and I think we have a potential direction for tomorrow.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply Co. AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “We didn’t roll off in the direction we should have, but we wanted to try something that we thought was the way, but we found a new direction the second session and I think it made a big difference. Both cars are looking a little bit better now and hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): “Today was good. We unloaded off the truck better than where we were at the test here, so I think we feel more confident than we were in the offseason around this track. Everyone did a good job just trying to get up to speed quick. We didn’t get the second session in, but the first session was really clean for us and we learned a lot. I think we’ve got a pretty good mindset going into qualifying tomorrow and we’ll just try and make the most of that so we don’t have to start at the back here.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “There are definitely some things that we need to improve on before qualifying tomorrow. We had some mechanical issues that held us back and I had a little spin about halfway through the practice. The good thing is that the pace of the (Nos.) 9 and 10 cars during that first session was pretty fast, so we can learn a lot from both of them and continue to better the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet. We’re really close and I’m feeling really good about where we are heading into tomorrow.”

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