Fresh tires or no fresh tires was the story of the second Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire practice session, but first let’s get to what happened in the session.
Andretti Autosport’s Dean Stoneman turned the quickest lap of the practice session at 1:16.098 and was followed by Sean Rayhall (Team Pelfrey), Shelby Blackstock, (Andretti Autosport), Ed Jones (Carlin), Garett Grist (Team Pelfrey), and Zachary Claman de Melo (Juncos Racing), who were all within one second of Stoneman.
Heamin Choi spun in Turn 6 on his out-lap only one minute into the session. The Korean driver stalled the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian Mazda powered Dallara. He received a push start from the Holmatro Safety Team and made his way back to the pits, but did not return during the half-hour session. .
The track went back green with 23 minutes left in the 30 minute session.
With ten minutes gone in the session the top five were: Ed Jones, Felix Serralles, Santiago Urrutia, Dean Stoneman and Zach Veach.
With ten minutes to go in the half-hour session the top five were: Jones, Urrutia, Stoneman, Veach and Kaiser.
A number of drivers put on new Cooper Tire slicks in the last few minutes of the session and were able to set their quickest lap of the day as the checkered flag fell.
One of those drivers was Sean Rayhall, who turned a quick lap of 1:16.329 to move to the top of the time sheet. He was quickly surpassed by Dean Stoneman who was able to go eight-hundredths of second quicker. He went even quicker on his next and last lap when he turned the quickest lap of the session with a lap at 1:16.098. Surprisingly, that was the first road and street course practice that Stoneman has led all season.
So who put on fresh tires and who didn’t.
Stoneman, Rayhall, Blackstock, Grist, Claman de Melo, and Kellett all put on new tires. Jones, Urrutia, Kaiser, Veach, Serralles and Negrao all stuck with used tires.
TSO had a chance to chat with a number of drivers this weekend, and the one common comment from almost everyone was that the track does not have as much grip so far this year. The second most common comment was that Jones is clearly the class of the field heading into qualifying.
After a rough start in practice session #1, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian Indy Lights team manager Dave Higuera said the were happy and also relieved with the progress they made between the two sessions.
Second Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire practice session time-sheet:
|6||Zachary Claman De Melo||1:17.003||-0.9048|
|14||Davey Hamilton Jr||1:21.504||-5.4056|
With the differing tire strategies, the combined time-sheet was a very mixed-up affair. Stoneman was the quickest of the drivers that used new tires and Jones was the quickest of the drivers who did not go to fresh Cooper Tire slicks.
Combined Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire time sheet:
|RANK||DRIVER||TOP LAP TIME||TOTAL LAP|
|6||Zachary Claman De Melo||1:17.003||27|
|15||Davey Hamilton Jr||1:21.504||26|
The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire series qualifies tomorrow morning at 9:20am.