Lexington, Ohio (August 1, 2014) – Team Penske opened practice for Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 with some solid laps Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
All three Team Penske drivers recorded laps in the mid-pack range in Friday’s first two practice sessions. Juan Pablo Montoya led the way with a lap of 1:06.8686 in the first session of the day in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. That worked out to eighth-fastest lap in the session and the eighth-fastest overall time for the day.
Will Power, who is positioned second in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings, recorded a lap of 1:07.0248 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet in the first session, which was good for 14th-fastest overall.
Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves also turned his best lap in the first practice session. His time of 1:07.2238 in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet was the18th-fastest lap overall.
Montoya, who won at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in his rookie year in the CART Series in 1999, went on to win the championship that season at age 24 to become the youngest winner in series history.
“I’ve always enjoyed running here at Mid-Ohio,” said Montoya. “We have a little bit of work to do to get our car dialed into where it needs to be, but today was a good, solid day for the No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevy team. Looking forward to qualifying tomorrow because we seem to have really improved in that area over the last few road course races.”
Power, who trails teammate Castroneves in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings by just 13 points, is looking for his first victory at Mid-Ohio.
“I don’t think we are too far off, but we do have a bit of work to do on the No. 12 Verizon Chevy,” stated Power. “We just need to work on the handling in a couple of the corners and we’ll be fine. I’ve been close before here at Mid-Ohio. I want to close the deal this weekend.”
Castroneves won twice at Mid-Ohio – in 2000 and 2001 – also has won two pole positions on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.
“It was a bit of a struggle today for the No. 3 Hitachi Chevy,” said Castroneves. “We had a bit of oversteer on the entry of the corners and understeer on the exit of the corners. That can be hard to fix sometimes but I know my guys will be working hard tonight. We will be improved tomorrow. I really want to win here again. It’s been too long!”
Qualifying for the race is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET Saturday. The NBC Sports Network broadcast of Sunday’s race will begin at 3 p.m.