Power leads Baltimore opening IndyCar practice

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Times fell throughout the 45-minute opening practice session for the IZOD IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT before Will Power laid down the first 1:20 lap of the weekend. The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma race winner set a fastest lap of 1:20.8632 around the 2.04-mile street circuit.

Next up was E.J. Viso, ahead of Oriol Servia, back for Panther Racing, Graham Rahal in the newly reliveried blu eCigs RLL Honda and Scott Dixon. All were in the 1:21.1-3 range.

Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Tristan Vautier, Marco Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top 10.

Three red flags, one apiece for Bourdais and Stefan Wilson stopped on course and third to retrieve a piece of debris, interrupted the session. The younger Wilson completed 19 laps in his first official IndyCar practice session with a best lap of 1:25.2797 as he learns the No. 18 Nirvana Tea Dale Coyne Racing Honda car and the Baltimore track. He also raced at Baltimore in Indy Lights in 2011.

Practice 2 will be held at 2:05 p.m. EST.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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