IndyCar »

Indy 500: Saavedra leads Sunday practice

Andretti Autosport's Sebastian Saavedra topped the timesheets on the second day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a best lap of 221.526mph (40.6272s) on Sunday.
Sebastian Saavedra was delighted to be back in action in an IndyCar for the first time since the Baltimore Grand Prix in 2011, and demonstrated his enthusiasm on just his second day of practice for the Indianapolis 500 by topping the Sunday timesheets with a lap of 221.526mph (40.6272s).

"Starting the month of May this way, it's a very satisfying feeling," he admitted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Saavedra returned to the Firestone Indy Lights series after failing to get a full time ride in the IZOD IndyCar Series, and the step back seems to be working well for him - he's currently the points leader in the Indy Lights championship. In addition, he's the official test and reserve driver for Andretti Autosport's IndyCar operation, and very proud of it as well.

"There's some big strategy at Andretti Autosport, and we're five cars and all of us, we have homework to do every day," he said. "We have things to try, and we sit down all together to see what works, what we need to try for the next day, but everything is a big strategy. Everything needs to be very well established. It's the professional way to do it."

Not far behind Saavedra are Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing rookie duo Bryan Clauson and Josef Newgarden, who also featured strongly on Indy 500 Opening Day as well.

"Finishing second and third today shows how competitive SFHR is," said Newgarden. "We're learning a lot more having a second car here, and it's really elevated the program overall. I feel super-comfortable in the car because the team makes me feel comfortable. They've done a great job of giving us a good program and making it easy on us."

"If you had told me that we were going to come out here the first two days and top the speed charts, I would have told you that you were crazy," added Clauson. "Another great day for us - these SFHR boys build fast Honda race cars!"

SFHR's general manager Andy O'Gara was finding it a real bonus to work with two two motivated and talented newbies.

"It's honestly a great fit for us at SFHR," he said. "Both of them come from similar upbringing and backgrounds as Sarah and me. Both of them work really well together. They work extremely well with the engineering staff, and they give it 110 percent, even outside the race car whether it be nutrition, working out, simulations, listening to driver coaches, spending the time with the engineers. It's a full-package deal and they've certainly brought everything to the table."

Behind the top three, series veterans Scott Dixon, Justin Wilson and Ryan Hunter-Reay also all managed to top the 220mph mark on Sunday.

"Just making sure all the systems are working and everything's okay," said Dixon. "My first couple of timed laps, the car seemed nice. It's nice to drive. We're on the same set of tyres. It seems there are a few more cars running more laps and doing a little more race stuff yet. We'll probably step into that the next couple of days."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Bryan Clauson (#39) during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Sebastian Saavedra (#17) during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 F. Peirce Williams (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Neil Alberico, Carlin, Indy Lights [Credit: Neil Alberico PR]
Matt Brabham to contest 2016 Indianapolis 500 with Pirtek and Team Murray
Matt Brabham to contest 2016 Indianapolis 500 with Pirtek and Team Murray
Jack Hawksworth
Spencer Pigot - Juncos Racing
Spencer Pigot - Juncos Racing
Spencer Pigot in Formula Ford
James Hinchcliffe back in the car at Road America - September 29 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe back in the car at Road America - September 29 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon with a victory kiss from his wife, Emma, following clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, his fourth series championship of his career. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.