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Castroneves Tops First Day of Practice at Indy

May 15, 2010

Photo courtesy of Steve Swope



INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 15, 2010) - Team Penske kicked off the month of May in positive fashion Saturday by recording some of the fastest laps - including the fastest of the day - during the opening day of practice for the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Helio Castroneves, who will attempt to tie the record of four Indy 500 wins later this month, recorded the fastest lap of the day when he went 226.603 mph in the No. 3T Team Penske Dallara/Honda. Teammates Ryan Briscoe and Will Power also were clocked among the fastest 11 of the 27 cars that practiced Saturday.

Castroneves, who won the pole and the race last year, is attempting to tie the record held by Rick Mears, Al Unser and A.J. Foyt. His performance in the 2010 IndyCar Series season so far - third in the standings with a win at Barber Motorsports Park in April - offer encouragement.

"It's incredible the way the team has been working," said Castroneves. "The season started very strong with Will winning two races. I was able to get a victory and Ryan has shown a lot of potential as well. When you put those things together, it's a very strong sign for this team. But we can't let our guard down."

Briscoe, who is seventh in points and won the pole position last race at Kansas Speedway, had the ninth-best lap of Saturday's two-hour session, posting a speed of 224.384 mph in the No. 6T Team Penske Dallara/Honda.

"It was good to be out on track," said Briscoe. "It felt great to be turning laps at the Speedway on opening day. There were a lot of familiar faces and a lot of fans. Today was a good smooth start for Team Penske to the beginning of this year's Indianapolis 500."

Meanwhile, Power, the series points leader, recorded the 11th-fastest lap of the day - 224.299 mph in the No. 12T Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda.

"We went out in our T (backup) car today for the first practice of the month, and I felt very comfortable," said Power. "I have more IndyCar experience now, and it felt very natural to get back to work in the Verizon car here at Indy. We're definitely happy with the season so far, but the only thing we're focused on now is being quick here. Verizon partnered with our team last year and we were able to finish fifth in the Indy 500, so I'm excited to be back and to have the chance to improve on what we accomplished last year."

Practice is scheduled to resume Sunday at 12 p.m. ET. Pole day qualifying is set for Saturday, May 22 beginning at 12 p.m. ET and will be televised live on Versus. The Indy 500 will take place on Sunday, May 30 at 1 p.m. ET with ABC's live coverage beginning at noon.