Hunter-Reay aiming for another win at Barber

The Sports NetworkApril 25, 2014 

Team Penske had been the only team to win an IndyCar race at Barber, with Helio Castroneves taking the checkered flag for the inaugural event in 2010 and then Power scoring the victory here in 2011 and '12.

But Ryan Hunter-Reay from Andretti Autosport ended Penske's dominance at this 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course last year. Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion, started on the pole and led 53 of 90 laps. Scott Dixon challenged Hunter-Reay in the closing laps, but he beat Dixon to the finish line by just 0.6 seconds.

"We had one of those race weekends you strive to achieve each time you show up at the track," Hunter-Reay said of his 2013 win at Barber. "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."

Hunter-Reay led the way in Friday's opening practice at Barber. His fastest of nine laps made in P1 was clocked in 1 minute, 8.8470 seconds. Josef Newgarden was second quickest, followed by Castroneves. Power placed 12th on the charts.

IndyCar teams tested at Barber for two days last month. Power had the fastest laps in each of those days. Penske drivers Castroneves, Power and Juan Pablo Montoya, who is new to the team this year, also practiced at this track in February.

"I love racing at Barber," Power said. "You love any track where you've had a lot of success. It just fits my driving style well. Barber is very high speed with a lot of banking. There aren't many road courses like it that we go to. Unfortunately, Hunter-Reay broke our streak of Team Penske wins at Barber last year.

"We hope to take our spot back this year with the No. 12 Verizon Chevy. I expect the track to be much different than it was at the test in February, but it's encouraging for us that we were really fast then. It had a ton of grip, because it was much colder than it will be on Sunday. I still believe we'll have plenty of speed to contend for the win though."

Twenty-three teams are on the entry list for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Series: Verizon IndyCar. Date: Sunday, April 27. Race: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Site: Barber Motorsports Park. Track: 2.38-mile, 17-turn temporary street circuit. Start Time: 3:12 p.m. ET. Laps: 90. Miles: 214.2. 2013 Winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay. Television: NBC Sports Network. Radio: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.

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