LEEDS, Ala. (April 25, 2014) -- Team Penske recorded three of the eight fastest laps Friday during the first day of practice leading up to Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
Will Power, who leads the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers’ standings by 27 points, had the third-fastest lap of the day – 1:08.9746 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Power, who won the season opener on March 30 at St. Petersburg, Fla., and finished second April 14 at Long Beach, Calif., has won three of the last four series races. He is the only multiple race winner at Barber, having picked up victories in 2011 and 2012.
“The Verizon Chevy team didn't do bad today,” said Power. “We went through and made a few changes today but we will definitely have to think about what we can do a little bit different tomorrow so we can qualify at the top.”
Meanwhile, Helio Castroneves recorded the sixth-fastest lap with a time of 1:09.0094 around the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Castroneves – fourth in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings entering this weekend – won the inaugural Grand Prix of Alabama in 2010.
“The AAA Chevrolet has good speed so far this weekend,” said Castroneves. “The speed is there to qualify well and to contend for the win on Sunday. I really enjoy racing at this place and we know how to win here. We took a race off (of winning) last year but it’s time to put Team Penske back in Victory Lane.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished fourth at Long Beach in just his second race since returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series for the first time since 2000, posted the eighth-fastest lap of the day – 1:09.1395 in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“The PPG Chevy was really good in the first session,” said Montoya, who was fifth on the morning timing charts. “I was able to push it a little harder than I did at Long Beach and it looked like it we were making big gains. For some reason the speed fell off in the afternoon. Not sure why that was, but we’ll figure it out before qualifying tomorrow. Qualifying continues to be very important for us and tomorrow will be no different.”
The weekend’s third practice session will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. ET prior to the 3 pm ET qualifying session.
Sunday’s race will begin at 3 p.m. ET. It will be televised live by NBC Sports Network beginning at 2:30 pm.