TORONTO, Ontario (July 18, 2014) - Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves led a promising first day of practice by Team Penske as preparations began Friday for the Honda Indy Toronto.
Castroneves was clocked at 1:00.0218 -- 105.262 mph -- in the No. 3 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet around the 11-turn, 1.75-mile street course at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto. That was the second-fastest lap of the day as the 23-car field began practice for the "2 in T.O." doubleheader races Saturday and Sunday.
“We have a lot of speed in the No. 3 PPG Chevrolet,” said Castroneves, who's never won in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 10 previous starts at Toronto. “I feel that this place owes me. We just need to find the consistency here. Strategy always plays a role at Toronto, but we want to qualify up front and stay up front. The goal is to come out of here with maximum points.”
The other two Team Penske drivers also were up to speed early, with Will Power posting the fourth-fastest lap of the day and Juan Pablo Montoya recording the seventh-best lap.
Power, who is second in the drivers’ standings just nine points behind Castroneves, was timed at 1:00.0932 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“Our Verizon Chevy is definitely fast enough for us to go back to Victory Lane here,” stated Power, a two-time winner at Exhibition Place. “So far we have executed well in every practice session. We just need to continue to do the things that put us in contention to win races. This is a tough place - a pretty rough track, but it’s a lot of fun. It would be nice to get back on track this weekend.”
Montoya, currently fifth in the standings and 66 points behind Castroneves, recorded a lap of 1:00.3021 in the No. 2 Hawk Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“This place used to give me fits back in the day, but the Hawk Chevrolet was pretty solid today,” said Montoya. “The concrete patches are still slippery but I’ve learned not to drive the car as hard through those areas. We are getting better on the street courses and that has me pretty excited for this weekend.”
Qualifying for Saturday’s first race is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET. The NBC Sports Network broadcast of Race 1 will begin at 3 p.m.
The schedule is the same for Sunday's second race with qualifying at 10 a.m. and NBCSN's broadcast coverage beginning at 3 p.m.