Ryan Hunter-Reay, the reigning Grand Prix of Baltimore champion, picked up where he left off last year.
The 32-year-old Dallas native posted the fastest IZOD IndyCar Series practice time Friday morning, running one lap of the 2.02-mile, 12-turn course in 1 minute, 20.8632 seconds.
Helio Castroneves, who leads the IndyCar Series championship with 479 points, recorded the second-fastest time of 1:21.1256. Dario Franchitti (1:21.2977), Marco Andretti (1:21.3134) and Ryan Briscoe (1:21.3247) rounded out the top five.
Hunter-Reay, who captured last year's IndyCar Series championship, is currently third in the points standings, trailing Castroneves by 62 points. Prior to his practice session, Hunter-Reay said, with four races left in the season, there is a sense of urgency to make a move in the standings with a strong showing at Baltimore.
"We've got to go," he said. "We're not interested in finishing second or third in the championship. It does nothing for us. We need to get going, and we need to make things happen. We rolled the dice a bit at [the GoPro Grand Prix of] Sonoma, and unfortunately, that strategy didn't pay off for us.
"Things just really haven't been going our way lately. Hopefully, it starts to go here. Looking forward to getting back to Baltimore. I have great memories here."