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Penske Racing Sweeps Top Three Edmonton Practice Times

July 24, 2009

Photo courtesy of IMS Photo



EDMONTON Alb., Canada - Penske Racing's drivers certainly seem to like Edmonton.

The three drivers in the Penske Racing IndyCar Series stable - Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power - emerged with the three top times during the first day of practice Friday for Sunday's Rexall Edmonton Indy at Edmonton City Centre Airport.

Castroneves led the way with a lap of 1:01.5467 in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda around the 1.9773-mile, 14-turn street circuit. Briscoe followed at 1:01.9820 in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda. Power, who topped all morning practice times, was third-fastest overall on the day at 1:02.0853 in the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda.

Castoneves warned against making too much of the sweep of the speed chart, noting that all three drivers still had much work to do with qualifying set for Saturday and then the race on Sunday.

"It's not over," he said. "It's just Friday. We need to keep it up for qualifying and the race. It's great to have a healthy competition inside the team. We're working on keeping it inside the team for the weekend."

Briscoe said the team's decision to come into the pits and stop a bit early before completion of the second practice session was a decision made with tire allotment in mind.

"It's just one of those weekends where we feel like we need to take care of the tires," Briscoe said. "We need to save them for the race. That's why we stopped early today. But it's a good start for Team Penske and with Will looking strong as well, it's a great start to the race weekend."

Power had the fastest lap of the morning session, then went off course on the wide-open airport circuit in the second practice before getting back up to speed near the end of the day.

"We had a bit of an up and down day, but overall it was a solid first day for the Penske Truck Rental team," said Power. "I really like this circuit and it's great for the team to finish the day with the top three practice times. We need to keep working hard to make sure we keep those positions for qualifying on Saturday."

All three drivers have shown in the past they have the speed in Edmonton. Briscoe and Castroneves started first and second in last year's IndyCar Series debut on the City Centre Airport course, while Power won the pole for the 2007 Champ Car event in Edmonton.

"This place is amazing," Castroneves said. "You learn something every time you go out on the track. It's a great start for Team Penske. It shows what we can do as a three-car team with Will, and it shows that it helps everybody. "

Qualifying begins Saturday at 5:20 p.m. ET and will be televised on Versus. Sunday's race is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET and will also be televised live on Versus.