Full Friday morning practice 1 results Full Friday morning practice 2 results

Ryan Hunter-Reay shaved a few hundredths of a second of his morning pace to once again top the timesheets in the second of the practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park ahead of Sunday afternoon's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Last year, Hunter-Reay won pole position and went on to win the race by 0.6363s from Scott Dixon, and given his Friday sweep the American is cautiously hopeful of repeating the same feat again in 2014.

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"In 2013 at Barber, we had one of those race weekends you strive to achieve each time you show up at the track," he said. "Taking the win from pole at such a challenging track was a tremendous achievement by our team as a whole, and proved that our preparation for the road courses had paid off.

"Hopefully we can defend our win, but it will be tough as hundredths of a second in qualifying could prove to be the difference-maker."

On Friday, Hunter-Reay improved his time to 1:08.7836s (120.378mph) on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn permanent road course, putting the Andretti Autosport driver 0.1475s ahead of KVSH Racing's Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais was just 0.0435s faster than third-fastest man Will Power who quickly bounced back from a lacklustre morning session that saw many drivers struggle for track time amid a flurry of red flag stoppages/ By contrast the afternoon session saw just one red flag, for debris in turn 14 just 15 minutes into the 45-minute session.

The distribution of engine manufacturers was remarkably even-handed with Honda and Chevrolet generally alternating right through the top ten. In total, 19 of the 23 cars finished within a second of Hunter-Reay's benchmark time, with Dale Coyne Racing rookie Carlos Huertas falling just outside that margin ahead of two veteran drivers who were only able to make limited runs in the afternoon, Tony Kanaan and Oriol Servia.

The slowest driver of the day was Bryan Herta Autosport rookie Jack Hawksworth, who found himself unable to improve upon his morning time.

Full Friday morning practice 1 results Full Friday morning practice 2 results

Long Beach race gets three-year renewal

The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach has confirmed that the Long Beach City Council has unanimously approved an extension to the current Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach agreement, meaning that the California event will continue on the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar through to at least 2018.

"We're delighted to have received the unanimous vote of the City Council," said Jim Michaelian, the president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association. "This will afford us the opportunity to continue to partner with the city in conducting the number one street race in America for years to come."

There had been speculation that Long Beach was in discussions to attract F1 to the street venue to replace the IndyCar event in the near future.

Chevrolet and Honda docked manufacturer points

Chevrolet has been docked 50 points in the manufacturer standings and Honda has been penalised 30 points for assorted violations of engine sporting regulations.

The #11, #12, #17 and #20 Chevrolet-powered cars of Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power, Sebastian Saavedra and Mike Conway respectively were found to have violated rule 10.6.4 (unapproved non-minor engine repair that requires a component change) incurring a ten point penalty in each case. Chevrolet additionally switched out the engine in Charlie Kimball's #83 car before its required 2,500 lifespan had been reached, earning a further penalty under rule 16.5.1.

In Honda's case, Jack Hawksworth's #98 was found to be in breach of rule 10.6.4, while the engines in the #7 (Mikhail Aleshin) and #77 (Simon Pagenaud) were changed before their required lifespan and duly penalised under rule 16.5.1.

Chevrolet now leads the engine manufacturers championship by 197 points to 112 points heading into the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 27.