Posted: Friday April 19, 2013 8:16 PM

Ryan Hunter-Reay fastest Friday at Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Defending IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was fastest in Friday's practice at Long Beach, where Mike Conway made his return seven months after walking away from IndyCar.

Hunter-Reay, who won two weeks ago at Barber, ran a lap at 1:09.4224 in his Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.

Conway was second for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The Englishman walked away from his seat before last season's finale because he was uncomfortable racing on ovals. But the 2011 Long Beach winner landed a one-race deal with Rahal Letterman Lanigan for Sunday's race.

"Got rid of the cobwebs and the car felt good,'' Conway said. "I'm happy to be here, don't feel rusty. I've been thinking about this race since January.''

Will Power was third in what was a messy second practice stopped four times for spins.

The second practice was stopped first for Sebastian Saavedra's spin. Justin Wilson later hit the wall, and Simona de Silvestro hit his stopped car. Scott Dixon brought out the third flag when he sideswiped a barrier, and EJ Viso's crash ended the practice early.

"It was a weird day, just never really got a rhythm with the stoppages,'' Hunter-Reay said. "It took a little bit of time out of what we were trying to accomplish with the car.''

 
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