Team Penske Gets Limited Practice Friday At Long Beach
April 13, 2012
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 13, 2012) – Heavy rain, lightning and high winds kept practice to a minimum Friday for Team Penske at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The team's three drivers combined for just 24 laps, all during the first practice session at the 12-turn, 1.968-mile street course in downtown Long Beach. In their limited time on the track Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves both finished with lap times in the top 10 while teammate Will Power ended the session with the 13th fastest time.
With forecasts of clearing weather for Saturday and Sunday, Team Penske did not participate in the rainy afternoon second practice session.
Ryan Briscoe, who finished on the podium in last year's race, led the way for Team Penske in the morning practice with a lap of 1:19.6077 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. That was the sixth-fastest lap of the 19 drivers who participated in the session.
"I am feeling good about how the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske car felt out on the track," said Briscoe. "We didn't have the chance to learn a lot today so the bigger emphasis is now on our preparation as a team going into the weekend which should play into our hands. Hopefully the weather will cooperate the rest of the weekend so we can get some great racing in for the fans here in Long Beach."
Helio Castroneves had the ninth-fastest lap of the session, 1:20.8696 in the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Dallara/Chevrolet. The 2001 winner on the Streets of Long Beach looks forward to the weekend ahead.
"It was a shame there was rain most of the day today. I feel bad for the fans that came out here to Long Beach," said Castroneves, who enters this weekend as the IZOD IndyCar Series point leader following his victory at St. Petersburg and third-place finish at Barber two weeks ago. "Hopefully things will improve and the weather will be better tomorrow so we get a chance to put on a good show in practice and qualifying. I certainly feel Saturday will be a better day in the Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske car."
Will Power, who won the Grand Prix of Alabama on April 1 at Barber Motorsports Park, had the 13th-fastest lap Friday, clocking in at 1:21.2195 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
"Unfortunately we didn't get much out of today, with all the rain. We just didn't have much track time in the Verizon car, but everyone is in the same boat," said Power. "It's going to make for a hectic day on Saturday, for sure, but we'll be ready to go."
Team Penske will look to make it three straight wins to start the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season on Sunday.
Live coverage of qualifying will begin Saturday at 6 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network while the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will also be televised live on NBC Sports beginning Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
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