Briscoe Leads Team Penske During Friday Practice
July 6, 2012TORONTO, Ontario (July 6, 2012) – Team Penske’s three drivers recorded consistently strong laps Friday during the first day of practice for the Honda Indy Toronto.
All three drivers finished the day with top-10 speeds as Ryan Briscoe led the way with his top lap of 60.6936 seconds for a speed 104.097 mph in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, which ranked fifth on the day. Teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power finished in consecutive slots after him in the practice rundown as Castroneves recorded the sixth-fastest time of 60.7017 seconds at a speed 104.083 mph. Power, the defending polewinner at Toronto, was seventh overall in practice as he clocked a lap of 60.7816 seconds at a speed of 103.946 mph.
Briscoe was pleased with the small changes made to the 11-turn, 1.75-mile course around the streets of Exhibition Place in Toronto. The two-time pole winner in 2012 will attempt to win his first pole at Toronto during tomorrow’s qualifying session.
“The Hitachi car has been good so far in practice and I think we can still make improvements to go faster tomorrow,” said Briscoe, who finished second in Toronto in 2009. “The track is for the most part the same, but they have resurfaced the back straight and widened it up a bit which opened up the passing lane into (turns) 2 and 3 so I think that will be really good for the racing. I am looking forward to the race.”
Castroneves recorded 30 laps on the day which was the highest among the Team Penske drivers. Coming off three consecutive top-10 finishes, Castroneves believes that his team is peaking at the right time.
“The Penske Truck Rental machine did a fantastic job and I know the crew is working really hard to make it better,” said Castroneves. “We were able to make some great progress from practice one to practice two, which is what you want. The Toronto track just keeps improving and we hope to do the same.”
Power, who enters Sunday’s race as the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader, will look to earn his first pole since Sao Paulo during Saturday’s qualifying session. In his last three career races on the Streets of Toronto, Power has produced three front row starts, including winning the pole last season.
“Good first day out there in the Verizon car,” said Power, a two-time polewinner in 2012. “We were able to improve on what we learned in the first session and made it a productive day on the track. I am certainly pleased with how the Chevy engine felt out there and we should have a great chance going into qualifying tomorrow which is always want you want.”
Team Penske’s drivers will practice again Saturday morning before qualifying at 1:05 p.m. ET. Live coverage of Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto will begin at 1 p.m. ET on ABC-TV.
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