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Apr 25, 2014 - 07:02 PM
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2014 Barber Park: Chevrolet IndyCar Practice Recap
Posted by: ASkyler on Apr 25, 2014 - 07:02 PM
IndyCar Weekend Team Reports
2014 Barber Park: Chevrolet IndyCar Practice Recap


Sebastien Bourdais carried the banner for the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 during the first two rounds of practice for the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Behind the wheel of the No. 11 HYDROXYCUT KV SH Racing Chevrolet , Bourdais turned the second quickest time of the combined session with a lap time of 01:08.9311 at a speed of 120.120 m.p.h.

Also posting top-10 practice times were Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet - fourth, Helio Castroneves, No. 3 AAA Team Penske Chevrolet - sixth, Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 PPG Team Pernske Chevrolet - eighth and Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet - ninth.

Firestone Fast Six qualifying is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. CT to set the field for Sundays race.

The Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is scheduled to start Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. ET with live television coverage on NBC Sports Network.

 

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DRIVER QUOTES:

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: NO. 11 TEAM HYDROXYCUT - KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, 2ND FASTEST: ". I think everybody's trying to guess what the race is going to be like. We know actually from 2012 how slick this place can be when it gets hot, how much tire degradation can be here. We come here and test for two days, it's drizzling, British weather, in the 50s, no wind. The track is awesome and the car feels great, it's super fast. You come back, the track is 125 degrees, it's gusty. You're like, Is it the same car? You're going two seconds slower and you're P1. Okay, that's interesting.

I think we could very well see actually a weekend where the times plateau maybe tomorrow morning. Track temp might be just about as hot as it was tomorrow afternoon as it was at 10 a.m. this morning if the sun beats on the track from the sunset to the end of the day. Yeah, I don't know. It's very difficult to anticipate what's going to happen, but I think the track might not pick up any speed at all. It's getting very slick out there. During the session it felt like the track didn't pick up very much. So we'll see what happens."

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 4TH FASTEST: "The Verizon Chevy team didn't do bad today. We went through and made a few changes today but we will definitely have to think about what we can do a little bit different tomorrow so we can qualify at the top."

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. AAA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 6TH FASTEST: "The AAA Chevrolet has good speed so far this weekend. The speed is there to qualify well and to contend for the win on Sunday. I really enjoy racing at the place and we know how to win here. We took a race off last year but it’s time to put Team Penske back in Victory Lane."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 PPGTEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 8TH FASTEST: "The PPG Chevy was really good in the first session. I was able to push it a little harder than I did at Long Beach and it looked like it we were making big gains. For some reason the speed fell off in the afternoon. Not sure why that was but we’ll figure it out before qualifying tomorrow. Qualifying continues to be very important for us and tomorrow will be no different."

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI CHEVROLET, 9TH FASTEST: "We had a very slow start to the weekend after not even getting to turn a lap in the morning session due to an electrical issue. It was frustrating for the Target guys to say the least, but we made good progress in the second session. We still have a lot of work to do but I like this track, we’ve been strong here in the past and I’m looking forward to qualifying tomorrow."

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 8 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, 11TH FASTEST: "We had a really good second session with the NTT DATA Chevrolet. The first session we couldn’t really get much done with all the red flags, so it was nice to have a solid second session. The conditions are very different here this weekend than they were at the open test. It’s just a lot hotter so the track is a little more slippery. We’ve definitely got some challenges for qualifying tomorrow and some work to do over night, but I think we’ll have a fast car tomorrow."

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, 11TH FASTEST: "It was good to finally get some good running in during that second session. We made some solid improvements to the car after the first session and we were able to save some tires to test those changes. We’re expecting tomorrow’s conditions during qualifying to be pretty similar to today’s, so we’ll have to make sure we’re ready for that. The work we did with Chevy and the whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew is the reason we’re making such steady improvements and we’re ready to get the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet in the Firestone Fast 6 tomorrow."

MIKE CONWAY, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, 16H FASTEST: "It’s been a busy time since the win at Long Beach. I flew back to the UK for the WEC race at Silverstone, Unfortunately, the sponsorship for the LMP2 effort didn’t come through for the race so I didn’t drive. But I did get to see the Toyota Hybrid P1 team place 1-2 there. I helped with the testing on that car so it felt good to be there and watch the win. I then flew back to Scottsdale and moved from my house to a condo on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I flew to Birmingham for a media day on Thursday, so it felt good to get back in the race car today. We didn’t have the grip level in the practice sessions that we wanted. This place is challenging and tough to get everything just right. But we’ll work overnight and be ready for Saturday’s practice and qualifying."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: NO. 17 KV AFS RACING CHEVROLET, 18TH FASTEST: "It’s been a positive first day for the KV AFS team. We showed strong pace. Everything is so tight here that if you don’t take advantage of tire life then you won’t get far and I think this is something I didn’t do with the second set. The track changed dramatically in this afternoon’s session, which everyone experienced. We will be working hard this weekend to set the car up to the ever changing track conditions."

TONY KANAAN, NO.10 TARGET CHIP GANASSI CHEVROLET, 21ST FASTEST: "Well we really didn’t know what we had to start with in the GE Reveal car because of all the problems in the first session with cars going off and causing red flags. It was frustrating to say the least. Every time you thought you were able to get something going, the red flag would come out again and stop the session. We struggled today with the setup and will go back to see what the rest of the team is doing and be ready for tomorrow."

PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:

An interview with:

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 11 TEAM HYDROXYCUT KVSH RACING CHEVROLET

THE MODERATOR: We'll welcome up Sebastien Bourdais, who was second fastest in today's overall practice sessions.

Sebastien, you have two practice sessions under your belt today, a fairly cool day as compared to race conditions. What are you expecting from qualifying tomorrow?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I don't know. I think everybody's trying to guess what the race is going to be like. We know actually from 2012 how slick this place can be when it gets hot, how much tire degradation can be here. We come here and test for two days, it's drizzling, British weather, in the 50s, no wind. The track is awesome and the car feels great, it's super fast.

You come back, the track is 125 degrees, it's gusty. You're like, Is it the same car? You're going two seconds slower and you're P1. Okay, that's interesting.

I think we could very well see actually a weekend where the times plateau maybe tomorrow morning. Track temp might be just about as hot as it was tomorrow afternoon as it was at 10 a.m. this morning if the sun beats on the track from the sunset to the end of the day. Yeah, I don't know.

It's very difficult to anticipate what's going to happen, but I think the track might not pick up any speed at all. It's getting very slick out there. During the session it felt like the track didn't pick up very much. So we'll see what happens.

THE MODERATOR: You're driving the No. 11 car this year. How would you rate the season so far entering the third round?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I'm very happy with the team. I'm not so happy with myself, obviously. Made a lot of mistakes. St. Pete was a very small one, but that put us in a ditch. Obviously the one lap we could finish the race on a two-stop strategy with closed pits, which threw everything in the garbage, which was a shame, because it was a good recovery.

Long Beach, we had a great weekend going until the out-lap after the first pit stop. Just need to get my game together, maybe try a little less hard. Maybe I want it too much and I'm trying too hard.

It's definitely a very good feeling, though, for Mistic and Hydroxycut. Week in and week out we seem to have the pace to be at the front contending. I guess it's easier to fix than that looking for pace and hoping that the next weekend will be better. You can always try and run a clean race and a clean weekend rather than look for a second a lap.

There's plenty of pace in that car. Again, today it felt really good. Just going to clean up the game and hopefully we get a weekend all together.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. ON LONG BEACH RACE

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, after Long Beach, I know KV is not going to like it, but I felt like I was as stupid at 35 as I was at 23.

These kind of mistakes, I don't make many of them. When you do, it really hurts. It's gutting. You try really, really hard to build a group. I really feel like we actually built something really nice, have really good chemistry. It came in a rather short period of time, which it's quite satisfying.

When you arrive in a new team, people are kind of doing their job, they're being professional about it. But then comes the next step where everybody feels like there is actually something that's coming together.

When that kind of happens, I want it so bad for myself and for the guys around me, as well, that maybe I get carried away a little bit. I've never been known for being a cold-blood driver, I guess. It's served me more than it hurt me. When I get all pumped up like that, I usually become pretty unstoppable.

Yeah, I mean, sometimes when you go over the line, you just make that tiny little mistake that costs a lot. Sometimes you get away with it. For the first two races, it didn't happen, you know. That's what I kept on telling to people at Daytona, that pit entry. People saw it as brilliance. I saw it as stupidity.

It looks cool when it goes well. When it goes wrong, all goes to crap pretty quick.

We're all racecar drivers. Sometimes you just got to dial it down a little bit to get your act together. Hopefully it's a good weekend now.

Q. You had two little offs earlier in the first session. What sort of things were you fighting early on that had you running off the track?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, it was two different incidents. The first one, I was looking for the poles which were supposed to be there and they were not. I turned in a bit early. When I realized they were not there, I kind of sit a little lower than I used to, and, yeah, I was looking for the poles going into the quick chicane. All of a sudden I realized there were none, I was on top of the curb, tires up in the air. That was a bit of a wake-up.

The second one, I was just trying to carry a bit more speed. Like I said, the conditions from the test have changed dramatically. There was a tailwind going in there. The car picked up too much speed. I grabbed the exit curb, sent the car sideways. That wasn't a big scare, but just basically trying to readjust to a two-second-a-lap difference from when we came here last and the first few laps.

Q. I think there's this perception that you're a road and street specialist, which you are. But you have a lot of experience on the ovals, too. When you put that next to the fact that you're with the team that won the Indy 500, how comfortable do you feel heading into Indianapolis and your chances to go out there and try to repeat for the team?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, quite honestly it means so much for the team and everybody's waiting for them around the corner. Incidentally, people are going to be looking for me, as well, around the corner. There's not going to be any excuses when you're in a car that won the 500 the year before and it's the same package.

But quite honestly, as far as I'm concerned, I haven't really put my head into the 500 yet. Coming into a new team, having to make a lot of changes to the team's history in terms of setup and things, I'm a pretty particular driver as far as what I like around for the car and everything. We definitely drew a line from what was done last year to where we are right now.

So I am really focused on that and trying to maximize the package. I actually don't think I have a lot of experience. I did more ovals last year than I'd done in my entire career prior. It's definitely good that I finally got a full season with the whole perspective and I'm not going to show up to Texas and Iowa and a couple of places where I never been before.

These oval weekends go so fast. A part of Indy where you have all this preparation. You get to Iowa and Texas, all these places, you have two sessions, qualifying, and the race is over. You're like, Okay, I was just starting to have some fun, you know.

Kind of looking forward to Indy. But I haven't really put my mind into it yet. For sure, it's a place that we're being patient and methodical. The team is going to be obviously able to provide me with a lot of feedback from what's been successful in the past. I'm sure we'll have a pretty solid baseline set up to work with. It's always a little different depending on conditions and tires, this and that. I'm hopeful it will be a smooth month of May.

Q. From the first session to the second session, what changes did you have to make to the car's setup that got you to P2 in this session?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Not so much actually. Just put in more than one lap time essentially, which is what I did in the previous session. The car was pretty good. It was pretty tricky. I was trying just things to replicate what I had been doing in prepractice here. It was way too much, so I dialed it down a little bit.

Yeah, we made a couple of changes, but nothing dramatic. Also because if you make big changes between P1 and P2 and the track picks up 25 degrees, you never know what did what. You kind of try and keep it simple these race weekends where you don't make dramatic changes unless you feel you're in the woods. We didn't feel that way. The baseline was actually pretty good.

Q. CONCERNING DIFFERENCE IN TRACK AS IT HEATS UP

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's tricky because the limit is way earlier than you were expecting it because the grip is much lower. Like I said, when you're two seconds slower, all of a sudden you brake earlier, you can't carry as much speed, you lock wheels front or rear depending on what's going on. You just got to be counting things down a little bit, and patience I think.

Q. CONCERNING CHANGES TO INDIANAPOLIS ROAD COURSE

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I'm not sure I want to answer that.

I think we need to see where we're at. I didn't see anything wrong with the old track. Obviously the IMS guys thought different. We'll just give it a fair shot and see how that shakes out. They sure spent a lot of money for that so it better be good.

Q. A technical question. This pit entry is one of the toughest ones on the circuit. There's guys almost hitting that wall every time. How hard is that going to be on hot tires come Sunday to get onto pit lane?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, if it's a green first stint, you don't want to be the first one pitting, let's put it that way. You're going through loads of marbles. It can catch you off pretty easily.

It's also true, if you run wide on exit or anything, it's a tricky corner. The tires, you're going right, right, right, right for a long time. By the time you get to the end there, you have to get into pit lane, you're crossing a sea of marbles.

Q. CONCERNING DIFFICULTY OF PIT ENTRANCE AT BARBER

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I personally like to have the pit speed limit before the lap because it's pretty unnecessary to take the chance. But it is what it is. You just need to make sure that you don't compromise your race in pit lane.

THE MODERATOR: Good luck in qualifying tomorrow.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Thank you.


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