Team Penske Leads Friday's Practice At Barber
March 30, 2012
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (March 30, 2012) – Team Penske led the way Thursday as practice began for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on a weather-challenged day at Barber Motorsports Park.
Following up on a successful season-opening weekend in St. Petersburg, Team Penske topped the charts after the first practice session. The afternoon session was cut short after heavy rain drenched the 2.3 mile, 17 turn circuit. None of the Team Penske cars turned a lap during the abbreviated practice session.
Will Power, the 2011 winner of the Grand Prix of Alabama, turned the day's fastest lap at 71.2886 seconds in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet during the day's first practice.
"I think we've got a good set-up for this weekend on the No. 12 Verizon car,” said Power, who was won the pole position at Barber for the past two seasons. ‘We know this circuit pretty well and we've done a fair amount of testing here. We came here with what we thought we needed and we worked a little more to improve it today. It could be an interesting qualifying tomorrow, because the rain and this track can have ‘weepers'. It could definitely mix things up tomorrow.”
His Team Penske teammate was not far behind as the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet piloted by 2010 Grand Prix of Alabama winner Helio Castroneves posted a second place time of 71.5010 seconds. Castroneves, who won last week's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for his 26th career IndyCar victory, is ready for the weekend ahead.
"It went really well today. It looks like the testing we did here is paying off so far,” said Castroneves. "But again, it's too early, it's only one session, but right now I feel comfortable. Team Penske is doing a good job, and Chevy is doing even better and we hope to get AAA in victory circle on Sunday.”
Ryan Briscoe rounded out Team Penske's performance on Friday with a 72.2151 second lap that earned him 15th place on the timing chart. Driving the new No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, Briscoe is excited for what is to come this weekend.
"We only did a handful of laps today in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske car. There wasn't a whole lot of time to work on the car with the schedule and the rain today, but I feel like we know what direction to take in qualifying tomorrow,” said Briscoe. "It still would have been nice to get a few more laps in today. I'm looking forward to what's ahead this weekend, starting with qualifying tomorrow.”
Qualifying is scheduled for 10:40 a.m. ET Saturday morning when the starting field will be set for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Tape-delayed coverage of qualifying will air at 4:00 p.m. ET Saturday on the NBC Sports Network. Live coverage of Sunday's 90-lap race will begin at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports.