SONOMA, Calif. -- Ryan Hunter-Reay knows he has to make something happen in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma to remain in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship hunt.
The 2012 title-holder who is third in the standings got off to a solid start by topping the time chart in the initial practice session on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course with a time of 1 minute, 17.7150 seconds (110.481 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport car. Dario Franchitti won the pole in 2013 with a lap of 1:17.5271 (110.748 mph).
Click it: Practice 1 results
Reigning series champion Scott Dixon (1:17.8990) was second and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tony Kanaan, who won the inaugural Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in 2005, was third (1:18.1895). Helio Castroneves was fourth and Team Penske teammate Will Power, the front-runner in the title chase by 39 points over Castroneves, was fifth. The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is the penultimate race of the season.
A second 45-minute session at 4:15 p.m. (ET) precedes the three rounds of qualifications (7:30 p.m. ET). Watch qualifying live on NBCSN.
The qualifying format on road and street courses:
Segment 1: Cars shall participate in one of the two groups for 10 minutes per group inclusive of full-course yellow conditions, with six cars posting best lap times from each group advancing to Segment 2.
Cars not advancing to Segment 2 will fill positions 13 through the end of the starting field to be ranked in order of best lap time as follows: Group 1 shall occupy the odd-numbered positions beginning with 13 and Group 2 will occupy the even-numbered positions beginning with 14.
Segment 2: Consists of 10-minute, 12-car qualifying group inclusive of full-course yellow conditions, with all times from Segment 1 having been voided. Six cars posting best lap times advance to Segment 3 (Firestone Fast Six). Cars not advancing to Segment 3 will fill positions 7-12.
Segment 3 (Firestone Fast Six): Consists of one 10-minute, six-car qualifying group, of which five minutes is guaranteed green condition time. Determines the Verizon P1 Award winner and the first three rows.
Verizon P1 Award winners and race finish this season on road/street courses:
St. Petersburg – Takuma Sato, No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing; finished seventh
Long Beach – Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL/Andretti Autosport; finished 21st
Barber Motorsports Park – Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske; finished fifth
Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Sebastian Saavedra, No. 17 KV AFS Racing; finished 23rd
Dual 1 in Detroit – Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Team Penske; finished fifth
Dual 2 in Detroit – Takuma Sato, No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing; finished 18th
Houston Race 1 – Simon Pagenaud, No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton; finished 16th
Houston Race 2 – Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske; finished 21st
Toronto Race 1 – Sebastien Bourdais; No. 11 KVSH Racing; finished first
Toronto Race 2 – Helio Castroneves*; No. 3 Team Penske; finished 12th
Mid-Ohio – Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 KVSH Racing; finished second
*-based on entrant points
Click for the high-resolution infographic