Hunter-Reay Sets Early Long Beach Pace
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Ryan Hunter-Reay continued to show his IZOD IndyCar Series rivals that they will need to work hard to take the No. 1 from his car.
Hunter-Reay, who won at Barber Motorsports Park two weeks ago and won at Long Beach in 2010, was quickest on the opening day of preparations for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday with a lap of 1:09.422 seconds in the No. 1 DHL car for Andretti Autosport. Mike Conway, making his season debut, was second quick in the session (1:09.460) in the No. 17 blue eCigs car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Defending race winner Will Power was third quick in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, followed by rookie Tristan Vautier in the No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car and IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Auto Club Team Penske car.
“It was great to be back on track here in Long Beach, it always is a great day to be able to practice here,” Hunter-Reay said. “It was a weird day, just never really got a rhythm with the stoppages and the couple of incidents out there. I really didn’t get to see who was involved and what happened, but it took a little bit of time out of what we were trying to accomplish with the car. But again, it’s just great to be on track here.
“Always love Long Beach, always love getting back in the rhythm of this race track, and unfortunately Mike [Conway] likes it too. It’s a good time out there, we’re always just pushing each other. Unfortunately we didn’t get enough work done that we wanted to heading into qualifying on Saturday, but we’ll get it done in the morning hopefully in practice three and look forward to qualifying,” Hunter-Reay said.
Also on Friday Carlos Munoz extended his streak of pacing the field in practice, qualifying and the race during the initial session for the Long Beach 100.
Munoz, driving the No. 26 Dialy-Ser car for Andretti Autosport, moved to the top of the time sheet with about a minute left in the session on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit with a lap of 1 minute, 15.1004 seconds.