Power stays on top as Barber Open Test wraps up
The lap times continued to fall at Barber Motorsports Park, but the name at the top remained the same.For the second consecutive day, Will Power topped the time chart in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.The Australian recorded his best lap of 1 minute, 7.1329 seconds on his final flying lap. The lap was more than 3 seconds quicker than the 2012 pole time in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the venue by Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves."Good start for the spring training," said Power, who led all four sessions on the 2.3-mile road course. "I think we got some good stuff to come back here for the race. It's just phenomenal how tight it is up front all the way through the field, and also just how fast these cars are around here, it's just unbelievable."James Hinchcliffe, in the No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, checked in with a best lap of 1:07.3839, while Justin Wilson challenged for the top with a lap of 1:07.4996 in the Honda-powered No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing entry. Scott Dixon was fourth in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, and Takuma Sato posted the fifth-quickest time of the sunny but cool afternoon in the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. car for A.J. Foyt Racing.The afternoon also saw Firestone Indy Lights race winner Stefan Wilson test an IZOD IndyCar Series car for the first time with Dale Coyne Racing.In the morning session, new KV Racing Technology teammates Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro were in the top five.DAY 2 NOTEBOOKRahal helps launch ticket promotionGraham Rahal helped the Birmingham Zoo announce a special deal for ticket holders of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.Any ticket-holder for the event held on April 7 at Barber Motorsports Park will get two free child admissions to the Zoo. The deal will be honored through April 30."We started a program like this at Mid-Ohio and doing a ticket package with the Columbus Zoo and Honda was a big supporter of that," said Rahal, who was joined by one of the zoo's ambassadors, a serval name Sarabi for the press conference."Growing up near one of the premiere zoos in the country, it was a lot of fun for me. I always loved going to see the animals. We're going to carry on that program here and hopefully at other zoos around the country."Rahal, whose godfather is noted animal expert Jack Hanna, said he wanted to try something in Birmingham because "it's one of my favorite places on the (INDYCAR) schedule. If we can do something to help get people to come to Barber or to the zoo to see some of these animals, it would be really cool," he said.Happy Birthday, MarcoAndretti Autosport celebrated driver's Marco Andretti's 26th birthday with a cookie cake during the lunch break between practice sessions."I hate celebrating birthdays," the driver said as he reluctantly took a photo with the cake. "But I'd probably eat half that thing if I could."KV Racing Technology, SH Racing form partnershipKV Racing Technology announced an alliance with SH Racing. The Chevrolet-powered No. 11 car driven by Tony Kanaan will be referred to as the KV Racing Technology-SH entry."KVRT and SH have done great things together since the inception of our relationship (at Indianapolis in 2011) and I expect this season to be no different," KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser said. "The alliance with SH is one that has truly grown since its inception, and we have some exciting announcements together in the days to come."Bia back in a carAna Beatriz was back in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda after mechanical problems kept her track time to a minimum on March 12."It gave me more laps and more confidence in the car," she said. "The experience is what's important to try to get to my first race of the season."DAY 2 QUOTES:RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): "It was a productive couple days at Barber. We need to close the gap, but we have some things to work on. We definitely didn't optimize our quickest run of the day on new tires. We know what's in the car - we need to close the gap to whittle on the Penske boys but all in all the team did a good job over the test and I'm looking forward to the season with the DHL car."A.J. ALLMENDINGER (No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet): "We still have a long ways to go in the learning process, but I was pleased with some of the steps we were able to make today in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet. Obviously, these Chevy engines are fast when you look at the best two times, now it is my job to start getting in front of the car and learn how to turn that speed into better lap times."HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet): "Another good day for the Hitachi Team Penske Chevy today and it is good to see our team leading the way. The cars were really fast again and I'm guessing there will be some sore drivers tomorrow. Things got a little hectic out there towards the end but we were able to get what we needed here and now it is on to St Pete for hopefully another win."E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela/Andretti Autosport/HVM Chevrolet): "Testing these two days in the No. 5 car was great. In Day 1, I was able to finish in the top five with a strong car. For Day 2, we took the day with a different approach and went ahead and tried and tested items that later on are going to be very useful. It definitely was a couple of successful days knowing that we were able to be in the front whenever we had the right things. I'm just looking forward to this year - I can see that we have a very strong line-up of drivers and personnel on the team to keep achieving great results. On behalf of Team Venezuela, I can say that Vicente Tralciis is really excited about his partnership and we are looking forward to the first race to start seeing the fruits of all the effort and dedication we have put in to make this happen."SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "Today was our chance to use a bit of strategy this season where having a teammate is key in this situation. Sebastien (Bourdais) went a very different direction which helps us find different components for the setup. Unfortunately, I only was able to complete 17 laps due to small mishap in Turn 9, causing my day to end much earlier. I am very confident on the job my teammate is doing a good job and will be able to give us the right information for when we come back to race here next month." (About the accident): "The car stepped out. It's been quite nervous yesterday and today. Coming out of Turn 9, it started to slide. I caught it once. I caught it twice and the third time, I couldn't do anything. It's small damage, but it's not the way we wanted to stop. There are a lot of improvements that we wanted to be doing."SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "Today we were not able to find the solution at Barber. It was a long day. We did a lot of laps trying different things and just couldn't figure it out. We will go back to the shop and take a look at things, so we can be back to where we need to be."SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "It was pretty good for the majority of the day for us. I'd say the last 30 minutes were a bit of a mess, obviously Ed (Carpenter) spinning and Oriol (Servia) spinning, causing two reds. The last run we put in our last new set of tires and changed ECUs, so I had no overtake for the end. I think we should have ended up a lot better than where we were. Balance of the car, we worked on some development things from the winter and generally I think the car is handling pretty good, but there's some areas I think we're struggling. Kind of got to go to St. Pete with a bit of an open mind and see how that track goes."TONY KANAAN (No. 11 KV Racing Technology-SH Chevrolet): "It's a good feeling to go into the first race of the season after a productive test like this. Being here for two days gave us the ability to sort out the small bugs that we had on the first outing and work through our full test schedule. We made some good progress with the car, the new Firestone tires are working great and our Chevy engine was flawless. I'm ready for the green flag in St. Pete."WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Good start for the spring training. I think we got some good stuff to come back here for the race. It's just phenomenal how tight it is up front all the way through the field, and also just how fast these cars are around here, it's just unbelievable." (About the number of incidents in today's test session): "I think towards the end of the day everyone starts putting on tires, starts going for big laps, and there's always a couple of mistakes. That's normal for these sessions." (On what he'll be doing leading up to St. Pete): "Resting. That's it. I've got to go to Indianapolis for a Meijer appearance, and then just rest up, get ready, start the season."TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "I think we made good progress and it was a productive day, however there is a lot to be done. At one stage we tried many things which didn't give us the results we were expecting so we honestly struggled a little bit. But we collected very valuable data and put it all together and improved the performance so that was good. We'll go back to the shop, analyze all the data and hopefully find more speed. Overall, it was a good test and the whole team did a good job."GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "Obviously we are disappointed that we didn't get to run more but we had a little fuel supply issue in the engine. The engine is going to be fine but we have to ship it back to HPD and it cut our day short. At the end of the day, the key is to learn and we still have James in the other car and he is going to learn as much as he can. We'll be alright when we come back here; we're not worried about it. Certainly the test has been a trying one but we're now switching our focus to the season opener in St. Pete. We're ready to get back there, I can promise you that."JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "It was nice to get back in the car. I haven't driven since September of last year so today was a case of dusting off the cobwebs and learning how everyone works at the team. Mike did a great job with the car on the first day. It was pretty easy to drive really and you can't ask for much more. It was a positive day and we will just keep working and hopefully we can carry on the momentum to St. Pete. Obviously Graham had a bad day but we managed to get a lot of work done so hopefully he can look at that and we can get both cars to the sharp end of the grid in St. Petersburg."ANA BEATRIZ (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "It gave me more laps and more confidence in the car. The experience is what's important to try to get to my first race of the season."STEFAN WILSON (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "It's great to have a taste of an Indy car. Unfortunately today, we missed an hour-and-a-half after lunch so it was just a brief taste, but hopefully we'll be able to get another test in. There was a lot to adjust to, getting use to gearing, coming into pit stops and leaving the pits as well. It was a lot to take in on the first day. It's good to just kind of shake the cobwebs off and get back in a racecar on the road course. "JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "I'm pretty pleased with today's test. We chipped away at what we needed to with car, systematically working through our list to be ready for this race in a few weeks. All in all, it was a good day."ORIOL SERVIA (No 22. Panther DRR Chevrolet): "It was a promising test. It was a good test, but still not the performance we want. Yesterday we were very competitive. We were seventh at the end overall but feeling we still had much more room to improve. Today we tried a direction that didn't really work and by the time we got it back, I spun and we ran out of time to put a good lap together at the end. I am happy because the car feels good and we are continuing to improve, but you always want to finish up top. It's only test and we'll soon see how we are in St. Pete. We're making good progress and I am pleased with everything we've been learning."MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "We got a lot done, but just not a lot of forward progress for No. 25 car today. It was a disappointing day, but obviously our teammates were quick, so we can look at what they are doing and be ready to come back in a couple weeks."JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): "I think it's been a pretty productive test so far, the Go Daddy car was pretty good here last year on race weekend so we certainly had a good base to start from. We had a lot of things to test, with a long off season it give the engineers a lot of time to dream up new fixes and magic pieces so we had to test a lot of those. I think having four cars really helped us get through the things we wanted to. The Go Daddy car ran well both days and it was good to be up near the sharp end of the grid, but ultimately it's just testing the track conditions will be a bit different when we come here for the race. But hopefully what we learn here translates and we can be competitive when we roll off the trailer in a couple weeks." SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "We made massive improvements throughout the two days, working closely with Honda as well. It was very interesting; we found an interesting area to work on for St. Pete. It's getting close, so I'm excited about it. It's great to be back in the HP car."SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): "A good day. I think it was a good two days for us. It's cool to finish this testing before the first race and to be running in the top 10 all day, so that's a good thing. But, it's still testing. Now we have to start focusing on St. Pete. During race weekends things are busier and there's less track activity so we really have to nail it every time and hopefully we'll be able to do that. I'm really happy with the team. They've done a great job. I'll think we'll have a really good car for the Barber race." ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): "It was good to get back in the Barracuda Racing car after three months. I think we started where we left off last season. We're very pleased with the two days of testing here at Barber. The guys worked hard. We tried a lot of things and learned a lot of things too. I'm very happy that we can have a good car here when we come back for the race. The Barracuda Racing car will be competitive and overall I'm very excited. There are little things to fine tune before the first race but if we can come back solid after this two-day test on a track where we didn't run the complete race last year and had a different engine, that's the only thing I can ask for. It's going to be a good season for us."***The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season opens with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 24 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be televised live at noon (ET) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, on SiriusXM and www.indycar.com. The 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season begins March 23 on the streets of St. Petersburg. The race will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. (ET) on March 24, immediately preceding the IZOD IndyCar Series race broadcast.