BALTIMORE -- Jack Hawksworth has won two of the three street course races, and a victory in the Grand Prix of Baltimore would go a long way in the 2012 Pro Mazda champion get back in the thick of the Firestone Indy Lights championship chase.
Hawksworth, driving the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson with Curb Agajanian car, got off to a fast start on the 2.04-mile, 12-turn street course with a field-leading lap of 1 minute, 25.6896 seconds. Carlos Munoz, who takes a 15-point lead over Gabby Chaves in the championship into the 35-lap race Sept. 1, was .5448 of a second back in the No. 26 Dialy-Ser car for Andretti Autosport.
Click it: Grand Prix of Baltimore Practice 1 results
Hawksworth finished third in the last race -- at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 4 -- and is 40 points behind Munoz. Sage Karam is third (16 points back).
"We didn’t want to get too far away from what we know works; we were pretty comfortable with the car straight off the truck," Hawksworth said. "There’s just so many tricks to this place. It’s so bumpy, there’s a lot of different asphalt and stuff, so you’re kind of tuning the car around the different aspects of the circuit. We just tweaked things and kind of massaged the car a bit.
"Now we’ll go back and share what we’ve done and work overnight. It’s great to have a break now in between today and tomorrow because there’s a lot of information to look at and a lot of things to think about before we go stick on the line in qualifying."
A 45-minute practice at 8 a.m. (ET) Aug. 31 precedes the 45-minute qualifying session at 10:55 a.m. Live Timing & Scoring and the IMS Radio Network broadcast for all sessions is available on www.indycar.com and the INDYCAR 13 app. The Sept. 1 race will be broadcast at 5 p.m. Sept. 1 on NBC Sports Network.
Peter Dempsey was third (1:26.3830) in the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing car. Dalton Kellett, making his series debut in the No. 17 Pabst Racing K-Line Insulators USA car, had a best lap of 1:28.9825. Kellett, of Stoufville, Ontario, has competed in Pro Mazda and USF2000 this season, too.