Here’s what we know after handful of IndyCar teams test at Sonoma Tuesday

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Official bits of information were limited from an IZOD IndyCar Series’ manufacturer/team test at Sonoma Raceway on Tuesday, but eight teams were on hand and there a few noteworthy items:

  • Two drivers, Lucas Luhr and Ryo Hirakawa, made their testing debuts. Luhr’s been confirmed to race on August 25 in the No. 97 RW/SFHR Honda as a teammate to Josef Newgarden and with some Muscle Milk Pickett Racing support. Hirakawa, the 19-year-old 2012 Japanese Formula 3 champion, was the latest through the revolving door of Dale Coyne’s second car. Hirakawa impressed and tweeted late in the day, “Finally I finished the first IRL test without any trouble with the 0.7 sec off the pace.” I’m impressed by his pace – the next step for him is calling it INDYCAR and not IRL…
  • Ryan Briscoe, 2012 Sonoma race winner, returned to action for Panther Racing for the first time since fracturing his wrist at race one of the Honda Indy Toronto in July, exactly one month ago. He’s missed two IndyCar (Carlos Munoz and Oriol Servia replaced him) and American Le Mans Series (Mike Conway and Simon Pagenaud) races apiece in that stretch. Sonoma’s a physical track but it’s good to see INDYCAR clear the Australian for it. His most recent action was in the NBC Sports Network broadcast booth at Mid-Ohio.
  • The @IndyCarPR “very unofficial” fast 5 at the lunch break had Ryan Hunter-Reay leading at a 1:18.8. Unofficial times from those on site – RACER’s Marshall Pruett, Autosport’s Mark Glendenning and the @OnTheLimitBlog site – pegged laps in the 1:20 bracket.
  • Here’s your tweet roundup we found from the others at the track today, which included all four Andretti Autosport drivers (Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, E.J. Viso), Dragon Racing’s pair (Sebastian Saavedra, Sebastien Bourdais), owner/driver Ed Carpenter, Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal and James Jakes, and Dale Coyne’s Justin Wilson.

 

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III