Hunter-Reay Sets Mid-Ohio Pace
STEAM CORNERS, Ohio — Ryan Hunter-Reay saved his best lap for his last lap at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion showed no ill effects for a two-week layoff turning a lap of 1 minute 5.6358 seconds on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course to lead the one-day IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test in advance of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
“It was a good day,” said Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 1 DHL Chevrolet. “Made some major gains and we’re pretty happy with the car. This track is similar to Barber and we’ve been quick on the big natural terrain road courses. I’m happy with the work that the Andretti Autosport boys have done over the last two weeks and I’m sure we’ll find even more speed for Friday.”
Simon Pagenaud turned the second-quickest lap of 1:05.7965 in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda followed by Will Power (1:05.8206) of Team Penske, Sebastien Bourdais (1:05.9654) of Dragon Racing and IZOD IndyCar Series point leader Helio Castroneves (1:05.9710).
Scott Dixon, who has won the last three IZOD IndyCar Series races and is aiming for his third straight win at Mid-Ohio, was sixth at 1:06.1025. A little more than a second separated the top 16 drivers on the time sheet.
Hunter-Reay expects the field to be just as tight when practice for the Aug. 4 race begins on Aug. 2.
“I expect the Penske and Ganassi boys to be right up there on Friday,” Hunter-Reay said. “It’s going to be super-tight as it always is here. Hopefully, the No. 1 DHL Chevy can stay up front.”