Vautier scrambles to P3 in Barber qualifying

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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Tristan Vautier’s now gone two-for-two in Firestone Fast Six appearances. His second was done via the more unconventional route.

Vautier emerged disappointed in himself after missing out on the top six by nearly two full tenths of a second.

“Seventh is OK but I feel sorry for my team,” he said. “The car was able to advance and I did a mistake in a place that cost us a lot, and didn’t put the lap together and do the job. I could have just squeezed in there. My fault, I didn’t do the lap when it counted. It’s frustrating to miss the Fast Six for one position.”

Mere minutes later, Vautier turned into a traffic director in the paddock, pushing his team to get back out when informed they’d be promoted into the Fast Six after Takuma Sato’s blocking penalty.

“Right before the Fast Six started, I was looking at it, and I said, ‘Guys, I see my car in the top six, maybe we should bring it back to pit lane,’” said Vautier. “I have to give it to the guys. They brought the car back last minute and got it ready after the Fast Six started. It was a mix of emotions to be disappointed and then all of a sudden know I was in the Fast Six. I had to get back in it.”

In just two laps, Vautier had himself a third-place qualifying effort driving on pure determination and a well set up car.

“Yeah, I just tried to push very hard. My engineer made good changes on the car for the Fast Six and the tires were a bit more used. So it was a lot of fun honestly. It was so cool because the cars have so much grip. You can really push hard and give it all.”

After an exhaust issue sidelined his debut when running in the top five, Vautier seeks his first finish after his second straight excellent qualifying effort.

Newgarden fastest as Castroneves returns in weather-shortened Barber test

Photo: IndyCar
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The Verizon IndyCar Series took to Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday for an open test, with 24 entries tackling the 2.38-mile road course.

Weather intervened in the afternoon, preventing nearly the entire field from going out, but the weather held off during the morning enough for one session to be run in its entirety.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden led the way, with a quick lap of 1:07.979, ahead of Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. For Castroneves, this marked his first IndyCar outing of 2018.

Helio Castroneves was back in an IndyCar on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

Sporting the Pennzoil “yellow submarine” paint scheme, Castroneves turned 41 laps around Barber in the morning session, with a quick lap of 1:08.315. He was also the only driver to venture out on track in the afternoon, completing eight laps.

The Dale Coyne Racing duo of Sebastien Bourdais and Zachary Claman De Melo completed the top five.

Results are below.