The first Verizon IndyCar Series practice of the race weekend here at Barber Motorsports Park was an interesting one. Red flags interrupted the 45 minute session 3 different times, the incidents involved Sebastien Bourdais, Graham Rahal & Scott Dixon.
Dixon seemed to have a rough morning, taking a single lap at the start of practice & bringing it back to the pits for an extended amount of time, and then apparently stalling on the track drawing one of those three red flags. Word from his team is an “apparent mechanical issue.” Scott needs to have an almost perfect weekend if he hopes to grab the victory at Barber that has eluded him thus far, teasing him with the runner-up result every year that the series has run here, since 2010 – fair to say that Scott is tired of “always being the bridesmaid.”
The session ended with Ryan Hunter-Reay on top of the practice times, followed by Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves. Hunter-Reay & Castroneves are not strangers to the clean air of Barber, both having won the event once and each earning the pole position as many times. It’s no surprise to see them up at the top of the board. Will we see them up on that podium again this Sunday? Well, not if Josef Newgarden has anything to say about. Newgarden was on his way to an impressive finish two weeks ago in Long Beach, when he was tangled up with Hunter-Reay in a passing attempt by the latter. I assure you that Newgarden will be one to contend with this weekend & he is making that intention known off the bat.
The other name that we can’t leave out when discussing Barber is Will Power. Power is on a hot streak – Having a podium & a victory in the first two races of the season and coming into this race weekend at the top of the points. Power has qualified P1 for this event twice (2010, 2011) & won it twice (2011, 2012). He’s admitted he’s not focused solely on the points this weekend – more on just driving the car as hard as he can in order to produce another victory this Sunday.
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