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Hunter-Reay leads test times at Sebring

Ryan Hunter-Reay's lap of 52.5826s (114.334mph) was the fastest of the first day of IndyCar pre-season testing at Sebring International Raceway on Monday.
"We're happy to be on track with all the IndyCars painted and starting our season," said Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay after setting the fastest time of the first day of official pre-season testing at Sebring International Raceway.

Despite running only 60 laps during the day, Hunter-Reay's time of 52.5826s (114.334mph) was 0.1266s faster than the best that Penske's Helio Castroneves who put in 83 laps on the track on Monday, the second-most of the eleven runners eligible to take part in this two-day test.

"Everybody is making a lot of adjustments to their cars, and the car is a lot of fun," said Hunter-Reay. "I think the lap times at St. Pete will be quicker, and this car will certainly go faster and faster as we develop it."

Hunter-Reay was also amazed at the difference that turbo power made to the way the car felt. "The funny thing is if you didn't have any lap times you'd think you were two or three seconds a lap quicker just because of the power delivery of the turbo," he said of the Chevrolet engine. "When it gets going, it really sets you back in your seat."

For his part, Castroneves said that Penske were just concentrating on doing their own test program. "We just have to keep focusing on our job," he said. "We're just focusing on our jobs and not even looking at times. It doesn't matter who it is, we just have to keep working and chipping away."

Third fastest on Monday was Simon Pagenaud, who is now officially the driver of the rechristened Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports #77 car following the agreement between veteran driver Davey Hamilton and Sam Schmidt Motorsports to join forces in 2012.

"I'm very excited about this new opportunity with Sam," said Hamilton. "Nobody has worked harder to get to victory lane in the series than Sam, and I want to help make that happen."

“I'm thrilled to welcome Davey to the team,” said Sam Schmidt in turn. "He's a great friend who is trusted and liked by everyone. He's also experienced in just about every facet of the racing business, so he'll be a huge asset for the team."

Of his first day driving for the newly-named team, Pagenaud was very happy with how it had gone. "It was a good day," he said. "We made some big steps forward. I'm very happy tonight. The Honda engine is really good. I'm improving every time I go out. The Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports team is doing a great job and that's making me feel more and more confident."




Related Pictures

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Ryan Hunter-Reay gets in his car. [Picture Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay takes the twin checkers to win the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves crosses the start/finish line during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves affixes the Verizon P1 Award emblem as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves with the Verizon P1 Award trophy as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates with the Verizon P1 Award trophy as the pole winner for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates on pit lane following his pole-winning effort for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves set up for Turn 1 during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Marco Andretti, and Graham Rahal barrel into Turn 1 during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on track during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais slides out of his Chevrolet machine following practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud waits outside his pit stand prior to practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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