MONTERREY, Calif. – Dean Stoneman had to learn the layout of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, then he learned how to go around the picturesque 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.
The Englishman topped the timesheets on the opening day of practice for the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires with a lap of 1 minute, 16.0981 in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport car as practice came to a close.
The first session was learning the track and the car a little bit. The second session was more about developing the car,” said Stoneman, one of six drivers with a chance to win the $1 million scholarship that goes along with the series championship.
“We’ve got what we feel is a pretty good setup on the car. Temperatures and the conditions change quite a lot around here with the sand on track, it doesn’t help. Hopefully we can try to repeat this tomorrow and end the year on a high.”
Sean Rayhall, who is returning to the series with Team Pelfrey, and title contender Ed Jones of Carlin were second and third respectively on the overall time charts. Rayhall turned a lap of 1:16.3290 in the afternoon session while Jones’ fast lap of 1:16.5086 stood up from the first session.
Jones’ championship Santiago Urrutia (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) was seventh though neither he or Jones opted to use a new set of Cooper ties in the afternoon practice session.
Owen tops opening day of Pro Mazda practice
Juncos Racing picked up where it left off in 2015 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Will Owen topped the opening day of practice for the Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Monterrey presented by Allied Building products with a lap of 1 minute, 24.6770 in the first of two sessions. His teammate Jake Parsons was second at 1: 24.9709.
“I’m very, very happy and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of my favorite tracks,” said Owen, whose team swept Pro Mazda races at Laguna Seca with driver Garett Grist last season. “Being up at the top is really awesome, but we can’t get complacent because tomorrow is going to be a really tough day.”
Championship leader Aaron Telitz led the afternoon session with a lap of 1:25.2311 after multiple issues in the first session limited Team Pelfrey to only 16 laps for the day.
“The first session I didn’t get a lot of laps in with a cut tire, clutch issues and an oil leak. You name it, it all went wrong in that session,” said Telitz, who leads Pato O’Ward by 14 points in the standings. “But I’m glad it happened then instead of tomorrow. We’ve got all the gremlins sorted and I was able to go pretty quick in that second session, which was really my first session of the day. We still have things we need to do for tomorrow.”
Qualifying for the first of three scheduled races this weekend is scheduled for 11:35 a.m. ET with the first race slated for 5:05 p.m. All track activity can be streamed live on http://racecontrol.indycar.com.
Franzoni leads opening sessions for USF2000
Victor Franzoni has a slim chance to win the Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda title, but the ArmsUp Motorsports driver is still intent on ending the season on a high.
The Brazilian led the way during the two practice sessions for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship with a quick lap of 1:27.758 in the opening session.
Australian Luke Gabin of JAY Motorsport turned in the second quickest lap, only two-tenths of a second behind Franzoni while Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing sophomore Parker Thompson turned in the third quickest lap.
The Canadian who trails teammate Anthony Martin by 21 points was a quarter of a second quicker than Martin, who turned the sixth quickest lap.
Pabst Racing’s Jordan Lloyd turned in the fourth quickest time and Gabin’s JAY Motorsports teammate Cameron Das had the fifth quickest lap time.