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Power, Verizon Team Penske Set Pace in Friday Practice

April 9, 2010

Photo courtesy of Steve Swope



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 9, 2010) - Will Power continued his run of speed Friday by warming up for the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union where he ended the last two IZOD IndyCar Series races - at the front of the field.

Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda topped the speed chart Friday with the fastest lap of the first day of practice - 1:11.1857 (116.315 mph) - around the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park permanent road course. After leading the February test session at Barber and coming off season-opening wins at Sao Paulo and St. Petersburg, Power is among the favorites to win the pole position Saturday morning when qualifying begins for Sunday's race.

"We've had some good speed lately in the Verizon car, but that doesn't mean we've got it in the bag by any means," said Power. "You've got to have everything go right during the weekend. You can't make a single mistake or you won't win. It's very tight now in the IZOD IndyCar Series, from top to bottom. You almost have to be perfect to win a race."

Power certainly wasn't the only driver in the Team Penske stable to show speed Friday. Teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe were among the top seven on the practice chart, with Castroneves recording the third-fastest lap of the day - 1:11.3698 (116.015 mph) - in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda.

"We definitely worked very hard," said Castroneves. "I've got to give credit to (race engineer) Ron Ruzewski. He knew what my teammates had and tried to see what worked for me. Sometimes what works for one guy doesn't work for another guy. We made good progress on that. We're headed in the right direction. I felt much more comfortable in the car."

Briscoe was clocked at 1:11.6061 (115.629 mph) in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, the seventh-fastest lap of the day.
"I think we're in good shape," said Briscoe. "We did not quite find the balance that we were looking for today. We did find a good direction for tomorrow. The No. 6 Team Penske car should be fast (on Saturday)."

Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 10:20 a.m. ET Saturday morning. The 90-lap Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised on Versus beginning Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.