Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kimball Conquers Pocono Practice

American Charlie Kimball was the fastest driver in IndyCar first practice from Pocono Raceway in preparation for the ABC Supply 500. The Californian was the only driver to break into the 221-MPH bracket in the session as his fastest lap was clocked at 40.6554 seconds (221.373 MPH). Kimball led a Ganassi 1-2 as rookie teammate and fellow American Sage Karam was second quickest at his home track. The Nazareth, Pa-native was 0.1077 seconds behind Kimball. Karam completed the most laps in the session at 83. Karam and the other rookie were given an extra hour of practice. Simon Pagenaud was third fastest as he was just 0.137 seconds behind Kimball. Pagenaud's Penske teammate and championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth, 0.195 seconds behind Kimball. Takuma Sato was the fastest Honda as he was fifth in the session. Sato was 0.2141 seconds back.

The other driver who is racing at home this weekend is Marco Andretti and he was sixth quickest, 0.2172 seconds behind Kimball. Will Power made it three Penskes in the top seven, as the Australian was the last driver to break into the 220-MPH bracket in the session. Power was 0.2354 seconds back. Tony Kanaan made it three Ganassi's in the top eight as the Brazilian was just over a quarter of a second slower than his American teammate Kimball. Carlos Muñoz was ninth fastest, 0.3568 seconds behind Kimball. Muñoz is a past winner at Pocono having won in Indy Lights at the track two years ago. Jack Hawksworth rounded out the top ten, 0.3852 seconds behind Kimball. Hawksworth looks to make his Pocono-debut after missing last year's race due to injuries suffered in practice at the track.

Graham Rahal, the nearest challenger to Juan Pablo Montoya in the championship, was 11th fastest, 0.4091 seconds behind his former teammate Kimball. Hélio Castroneves was 12th, 0.4777 seconds back. Ryan Hunter-Reay was 13th, 0.4849 seconds slower. Tristan Vautier was 14th, just over a half a second slower than Kimball with Justin Wilson rounding out the top fifteen, 0.57 seconds back of Kimball. Scott Dixon was 16th, 0.5739 seconds behind his teammate.

Stefano Coletti was 17th fastest, 0.6414 seconds slower than Kimball but the Monegasque driver had the only accident during the session having brushed the pit lane wall. Coletti walked away from the incident. Former Indy Lights champions Josef Newgarden and Gabby Chaves were 18th and 19th, 0.6469 and 0.6807 seconds behind Kimball respectively. Ryan Briscoe rounded out the top twenty, 0.7217 behind his former teammate.

Sébastien Bourdais was 21st, 0.7796 seconds back. Pippa Mann was the final driver within a second of Kimball as she was 22nd, 0.9693 seconds back. James Jakes and Ed Carpenter rounded out the timesheet, 1.0294 and 1.0470 seconds back respectively.

IndyCar qualifying will take place at 2:00 p.m. ET. Ed Carpenter will be the first qualifier and will be followed by Will Power and Sage Karam. Charlie Kimball will be the 14th qualifier. Four of the top five in the championship are within the final eight qualifiers. Juan Pablo Montoya will be 17th in line, Hélio Castroneves will be 21st, Graham Rahal will be the 23rd qualifier and Scott Dixon will be the final qualifier.

IndyCar qualifying will be shown live at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.