LEEDS, Ala. (March 17, 2014) – The Verizon IndyCar Series roared out of the winter months Monday with the first of two test days at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama and Team Penske came out strong. Drivers Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves recorded the top three lap times among the 22 cars that tested on Monday.
Power led the way with a fast lap of 1:07:6492 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Montoya owned the second-fastest lap when he posted a time of 1:07.7170 in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevy, Castroneves was third on the timing chart with a top time of 1:07.7214.
“We’ve tried a lot of different things, so it’s a good day for that. Obviously, the track conditions are exceptional - a lot of grip because it’s so cold, you gain a little bit of downforce," said Power, the race winner at Barber in both 2011 and 2012. "You’re always learning, there’s no use in belting around there not learning anything. We found some more good stuff, crossed off things that don’t work and I think we’re in a good place."
Rain and cold temperatures forced the series to forgo the morning session at the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course. Teams will be back at the picturesque circuit on Tuesday for two more sessions in preparation for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 30. The Verizon IndyCar Series will return to Barber Motorsports Park for the third round of the 18-race championship on Sunday, April 27.
Power turned a total of 48 laps on the afternoon while Castroneves, the 2010 winner at Barber, completed 51 circuits. Montoya, who is returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series for the first time since the 2000 season, led all drivers with 55 total laps completed.
The cars return to the track Tuesday morning for another full day of pre-season testing. Follow all the action at www.IndyCar.com.