Conway scores his and Dale Coyne’s first pole for Detroit race 2


Mike Conway has scored his, and the Dale Coyne Racing team’s, first career pole position in the IZOD IndyCar Series with a late flier in qualifying for the second race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual at Detroit.

Conway was in the second group, and began the 12-minute session with Firestone’s black tires before switching to the softer red alternates later on. He got down to a 1:18.0977 on the reds, the fastest lap of the weekend around the 2.346-mile street course, and nearly seven tenths ahead of Will Power in the session.

“We weren’t sure if we wanted to go onto the reds, but we went for it,” said the driver of the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda. “The approach here is the same as Long Beach. Driving the sports cars helped a little bit. You just run, get laps, and get going.”

James Jakes continued his excellent weekend to this point, bettering his grid position for Saturday’s first race by one. He qualified third on Friday for race one, then led his group in the morning to line up second with a time of 1:18.1704 in the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.

“It’s a shame we didn’t get more laps in,” Jakes admitted. “The balance wasn’t great yesterday but we worked overnight to make some changes, and they worked out well.

“I need to find Conway’s hotel since he’s spoiling the party,” he added, jokingly.

Will Power lines up third , with Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso set to line up in the top five for race two.

The unofficial grid for tomorrow’s race is below. It will go green at 3:50 p.m. ET on Sunday; check your local listings. The grid for race one, which goes green at 3:50 p.m. ET today, is linked here.

UPDATE (2:15 p.m. ET, Sunday): Tire designations for Dual 2 are now below.

IZOD IndyCar Series – Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans 2
Unofficial Starting Lineup

Row 1
18-Mike Conway (Primary)
16-James Jakes (Primary)

Row 2
12-Will Power (Alternate)
1-Ryan Hunter-Reay (Primary)

Row 3
5-E.J. Viso (Primary)
77-Simon Pagenaud (Alternate)

Row 4
9-Scott Dixon (Primary)
19-Justin Wilson (Primary)

Row 5
3-Helio Castroneves (Primary)
27-James Hinchcliffe (Primary)

Row 6
6-Sebastian Saavedra (Primary)
2-AJ Allmendinger (Primary)

Row 7
4-Ryan Briscoe (Alternate)
25-Marco Andretti (Alternate)

Row 8
15-Graham Rahal (Alternate)
10-Dario Franchitti (Alternative)

Row 9
78-Simona de Silvestro (Alternate)
83-Charlie Kimball (Primary)

Row 10
11-Tony Kanaan (Alternate)
55-Tristan Vautier (Primary)

Row 11
14-Takuma Sato (Alternate)
7-Sebastien Bourdais (Alternate)

Row 12
20-Ed Carpenter (Primary)
67-Josef Newgarden (Alternate)

Row 13
98-Alex Tagliani (Alternate)

Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

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But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds