Hunter-Reay leads as times plunge in second practice at Sonoma

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SONOMA, Calif. – Ryan Hunter-Reay led an all-American top three in the second 45-minute practice session for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway, site of this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series season finale.

Hunter-Reay banked his ultimate lap flier early of 1:16.8702 in the No. 28 DHL Honda, a lap time that is nearly a full four tenths faster than Will Power’s track record around the 2.385-mile road course of 1:17.2393 set last year in qualifying.

Hunter-Reay edged Graham Rahal, whose No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake RLL Honda team made some significant rear wicker changes on the car and also sent him out on a fresh set of sticker Firestone blacks towards the end of the session. Rahal posted a 1:16.8989.

Josef Newgarden was third in the No. 67 GoPro CFH Racing Chevrolet at 1:16.9269.

Championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth with Scott Dixon completing the top five. All of the top five drivers have two wins this season.

All of sixth through 10th place were also under Power’s track record mark: Helio Castroneves, Carlos Munoz, Tony Kanaan, Power himself and Simon Pagenaud.

Sebastian Saavedra ended 11th despite losing most of the session after stopping on track at the Carousel, and then heading into the drag strip area. His car was retrieved by the Holmatro Safety Crew and returned to the pits. It brought out the only red flag in the session, roughly at the halfway mark.

Times came down more than a second from yesterday, with temperatures significantly cooler in the morning. A half hour prior to the session, temperatures were 72 degrees ambient and 85 on track; by the green flag time at 10:45 a.m. PT it was 84 and 93, respectively, per Firestone.

Times are below. Qualifying is at 3:05 p.m. PT, 6:05 p.m. ET and live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra at 3:30 p.m. PT, 6:30 p.m. ET, with the potential of starting earlier if the NASCAR Xfinity Series broadcast from Road America ends earlier.

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Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”