Power Back on Top of the Charts in Mid-Ohio Practice
August 2, 2013LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 2, 2013) – Team Penske flexed its muscle late in Friday’s IZOD IndyCar Series second practice session to lead the field in preparation for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Will Power set the pace with the fastest lap of the day – 1:05.4332 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course.
“Overall, a good day and it’s great to have the Verizon Chevrolet at the top of the charts here at Mid-Ohio,” said Power. It’s been a challenging season for the three-time defending series road course champion as he enters this weekend ranked 10th in the standings with just five top-10 finishes in 13 races.
“Yeah it was definitely hard to get the car right, this year period for me,” said Power, who has been a consistent title contender since he joined Team Penske in 2009. “We’re starting to understand and get back on the right track. We were able to get good time in at the end there even though we made a few mistakes during the session but we’re narrowing it down. I’d love nothing more than just to get on the pole here and have a chance to win a race, it’s unbelievable. But so far so good and we’ll keep working hard.”
Helio Castroneves, who leads the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings, had the 12th-fastest lap of the day – 1:05.9422 in the No. 3 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“The PPG Dallara/Chevrolet was good today,” said Castroneves. “Towards the end of practice we tried a different strategy with the tires, something a little (earlier) than everyone else. Of course this track gets better towards the end of a run, so we will continue to work on that strategy tomorrow.”
Qualifying for the race is scheduled to begin Saturday at 2 pm ET after morning practice takes to the track at 10:30 am.
Power has won two poles (2010 and 2012) and earned three top-five starting spots in four career starts at Mid-Ohio. On Sunday, he’ll be looking for his third podium result at the classic road course to go along with his two second-place finishes in 2010 and 2012.
“Qualifying means everything here,” added Power. “The race itself has changed from a two-stop race to a three-stop race. It is just so hard here. You need to start in the top five or six. The break (in the schedule) we just had came at a good time. It’s been such a hard year from a competition standpoint and we’re still not where we would like to be by any means. But we will continue to work on our season.”
Meanwhile, Castroneves has led the championship standings in 10 of the 13 races this season, including the last eight consecutive events. The three-time Indy 500 champ, who won at Mid-Ohio in 2000 and 2001, enters Saturday’s qualifying with a 29-point lead over Scott Dixon in the standings.
“Of course points are always in the back of your mind,” said Castroneves.” We’ve come so far this year in terms of maintaining the points lead. We need to continue leading laps and staying out of trouble in order to bring home a championship for Team Penske.”
Sunday’s race is scheduled to begin at 3:40 pm ET. Live coverage begins at 3 pm on NBC Sports Network.
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