Social roundup: Indy Lights drivers seize the moment in Sonoma IndyCar test

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All around, it seemed a pretty productive, hassle-free day as seven Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires drivers got their biggest taste of an IndyCar at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday. They banked laps and didn’t make mistakes.

Here’s a quick roundup of social posts from the drivers on hand at the track, as well as a handful of additional quotes:

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet

Pigot went into Will Power’s usual chassis for his first ever day of running in an IndyCar. Pigot, the Rising Star Racing-backed driver who is one of the poster children for the Mazda Road to Indy having been involved since 2011 and having won multiple Mazda scholarships, seems a natural to move up to IndyCar in the very near future.

“After a few laps I was able to start pushing more and more. I was able to get comfortable fairly quickly,” Pigot said, via IndyCar.com. “We went through a lot of video and data beforehand, and I talked to Will a lot. Team Penske has helped me a lot to get up to speed quickly.”

NELSON PIQUET JR., No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet

Piquet – apart from having a similar name to Pigot – added IndyCar to his repertoire along with FIA Formula E, Red Bull Global Rallycross and Indy Lights this year. The Brazilian, also a past Formula 1 and NASCAR veteran, took the reins of Juan Pablo Montoya’s usual car, and then left to go East to Washington, D.C. for his GRC commitments.

JACK HARVEY, No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda

Harvey returned to the track where he won both Indy Lights races a year ago and impressed in his running.

“I loved every minute of it,” he said, via IndyCar.com. “In Indy lights last year I won both races (at Sonoma), so I was really excited when I knew this track was going to be my first test. I’m pretty happy with what we’ve achieved.”

RYAN PHINNY, No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet

Phinny was in Sebastien Bourdais’ car with Stefano Coletti’s nose assembly. It marked the Californian’s second test, after also testing for the KV Racing Technology team this winter.

ED JONES, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake RLL Honda

Jones took the reins of Graham Rahal’s backup car, numbered 15T, for his maiden IndyCar voyage. The Dubai-based driver, born in England who now lives part-time in Florida, had a solid day’s work.

MATTHEW BRABHAM, No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda

More here from my MotorSportsTalk colleague Luke Smith, but “Matty Brabs'” enjoyed his second day in an IndyCar Thursday after his first at Iowa Speedway last month. Again, he was in Justin Wilson’s usual car.

SEAN RAYHALL, No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Rayhall drew praise from Chip Ganassi, the team’s managing director Mike Hull and a number of people in the sports car world after his first test. The 20-year-old Georgian moved from one orange car to another, shifting from his 8Star Motorsports Indy Lights car into Charlie Kimball’s Novo Nordisk Chevrolet entry.

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