Team Penske Trio Posts Top-10 Times in Toronto Practice
July 16, 2010
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 16, 2010) - Team Penske opened practice for the Honda Indy Toronto on Friday with some strong laps around the 1.75-mile street course.
All three Team Penske drivers recorded laps among the top-10 during the afternoon practice session at Exhibition Place. Helio Castroneves led the way with a fast lap of 1:02.2550 - 101.486 mph - in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, good for third-fastest of the day among the 26-car field.
"It was good work by Team Penske today," said Castroneves. "It's great to be back in Toronto and racing in front of these fans. We changed some things on the car from last year and it responded much better. We had two good practices but tomorrow is the real deal. We'll keep working hard and see what happens tomorrow in qualifying."
Will Power recorded the fourth-best lap of the day in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske machine with a top time of 1:02.3439, while Ryan Briscoe had the 10th-best lap of 1:02.8013 in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
Power, the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader, said the fastest cars in the field are extremely close together. The top five cars in Friday's practice were separated by less than a quarter of a second.
"It is tough out there," said Power, winner of the 2007 Toronto race. "The competition is so tight. No one really has a big advantage here. You have to be up on the wheel and really drive the car hard. The Verizon car is pretty good right now, although we do have a bit of work to do in order to get it right where it needs to be for qualifying."
Briscoe said his strategy on Friday involved saving his allotment of tires for qualifying and the race. Instead of going for raw speed, the team focused on getting the No. 6 car's setup right.
"It was a pretty good day," said Briscoe. "The Team Penske car is very close on balance and we're almost there. Today was really about managing our tires. I would have liked to run more laps, but we were saving our tires for qualifying and the race. Overall, we're pretty happy with the car, and I'm looking forward to running with new tires tomorrow."
Team Penske will be looking to establish a new North American open-wheel racing record on Saturday as it strives for its ninth consecutive pole position. The mark of eight straight poles already is an IZOD IndyCar Series record. On Sunday, the team will try for its first win at Toronto since 1993, when Paul Tracy captured the checkered flag.
Qualifying for Sunday's race will begin Saturday at 12:50 p.m. ET. Television coverage of the Honda Indy Toronto is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday on ABC.