They switched liveries (Simon Pagenaud, first) and teams/manufacturers (Mike Conway, second), but the two winners of the 2013 Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans were back at the top for Friday’s second practice for Round 6 of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series.
Pagenaud, now in the orange Oculus colors instead of the blue-and-white Charter scheme for the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda, clocked in at 1:17.6502 around the 2.35-mile Belle Isle Park.
Both Pagenaud and Conway, who set his best time of 1:17.7149, liked having a loose car throughout the circuit as the bumpy track plays to the advantage of those who like a tail-happy car.
“Going from tarmac to concrete, the car just slides,” Pagenaud said. “If you don’t let it slide, if you don’t trust it, you can’t produce lap times.
“I think that’s what he does really well,” he added, joking about Conway. “He seems really good at running the car really, really loose on entry. That’s what I heard, actually.”
Conway, who won race one last year in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda and is now in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, described what you need to do to handle this circuit.
“You’ve got to keep your wits about you,” he said. “It’s all part and parcel of the circuit, the way the bumps are. You can get your car set afterwards. That’s the biggest thing with the dampers, getting the thing to catch afterwards. A lot of corners, you’re going in, the car is very neutral on entry, then you catch the bumps. You got to make sure you’re going to make the corner, then get out.
“Even on a quick lap around here, you seem to have quite a few slides,” he added. “Most circuits don’t seem to get as much as that. But it’s fun though.”
Rest of the top five was Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay. RHR led practice one but stopped on track to end session two.
Qualifying takes place at 8:35 a.m. Saturday morning, in standard Firestone Fast Six format.
Here’s your times.