Marco Andretti fastest in Milwaukee IndyFest first practice

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Marco Andretti led a tightly bunched first practice session for this weekend’s Milwaukee IndyFest (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network), the ninth of 19 races in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule – and the unofficial halfway point of the year as it’s the eighth of 16 race weekends.

The top 22 of 24 cars were separated by less than half a second (0.4698), with the last two a further two tenths back.

Andretti was one of two in the Andretti Autosport stable to lap the Milwaukee Mile in under 22 seconds, at a best speed of 166.684 mph. Teammate and defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was next up.

Josef Newgarden and Tristan Vautier were best of the Hondas in third and fourth, with Will Power’s Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet completing the top five.

E.J. Viso, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Simona de Silvestro and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top 10. Hinchcliffe had the session’s only incident when he made light contact with the Turn 2 wall, but without sustaining any major damage.

Series returnees Ana Beatriz (Dale Coyne Racing) and Ryan Briscoe (Panther Racing) were 11th and 15th, respectively. Beatriz ran the most laps in the one-hour session (73), with Hinchcliffe running just 17 prior to his contact.

The second practice session is at 1 p.m. CT with qualifying at 4:15 p.m. CT (5:15 p.m. ET). See qualifying coverage at 7 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

Holmatro, INDYCAR renew partnership in five-year extension

Photo: IndyCar
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Holmatro, a long-time partner of INDYCAR and title sponsor of the Holmatro Safety Team, have renewed a long-standing partnership that will see Holmatro and INDYCAR continue their partnership in a five-year contract extension.

“Holmatro has been a trusted partner and supplier in Indy car racing for more than 20 years,” said president of competition and operations Jay Frye. “Holmatro’s growth parallels some of the great strides made in safety for INDYCAR drivers and teams. We’re pleased to see this partnership continue, as it is a great benefit to everyone in the paddock.”

Holmatro’s relationship with INDYCAR dates back to 1991, when they first supplied tools to the safety team of the CART sanctioned PPG IndyCar World Series. Holmatro branding will continue to be featured on the firesuits, vehicles, and transporters of INDYCAR’s safety team throughout the agreement.

“Holmatro is extremely pleased to extend our partnership with INDYCAR for another five years,” said Tony Barboza, general manager for Holmatro. “We’re extremely proud to be affiliated with the premier on-track safety team in the world. Members of the safety team serve on their home fire departments when not at INDYCAR events and, like them, we believe in constant improvement and innovation. When the race is for life, you can count on the INDYCAR Safety Team and Holmatro rescue tools.”

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