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Hunter-Reay tops after early Mid-Ohio practices

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 1, 2014 at 3:40 pm •  Published: August 1, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ohio (AP) — If the IndyCar Series is going to make it 3 for 3 when it comes to caution-free races at Mid-Ohio, the drivers will need to clean it up before Sunday's Honda Indy 200.

Friday's afternoon practice was stopped twice for drivers going off course, causing a disjointed session.

"The first practice was fine," four-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon said. "The second practice was pretty much a waste of time with all the reds (flags). We only got one or two laps at speed. It was pretty slippery out there with all the dirt and stuff. Hopefully, tomorrow goes a little bit smoother."

Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport had the best time during the morning session. The pole winner for last year's Mid-Ohio race clocked a 1:06.5316 for an average speed of 122.18 mph in the morning session. His pole time last year was 1:05.3519.

KVSH Racing's Sebastien Bourdais was fastest in the afternoon session with a 1:06.8271. Combining the two sessions, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 's Simon Pagenaud was second in 1:06.6731, while Dixon was third for Chip Ganassi Racing — the winner of the last five races at the track. Rookie Mikhail Aleshin of Schmidt Peterson was fourth, and Bourdais fifth.

Points leader Helio Castroneves was 18th in the morning session and 11th in the afternoon, while Team Penske teammate Will Power — second in the points chase — was 13th in each session.

The last caution period during an IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio were from laps 57 to 59 in 2011. That's 201 straight laps without a yellow flag.

"We're going to try," said Tony Kanaan, 20th in Friday practice. "I think that's the beauty of it. Look at the quality of the drivers and the teams. You don't have mechanical failures or drivers making mistakes. You have a full green-flag race.

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