Castroneves Paces the Field in First Day of Practice

July 21, 2012

EDMONTON, Alberta (July 20, 2012) – Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves led the way Friday with the fastest lap of the day as practice opened for Sunday’s Edmonton Indy at Edmonton City Centre Airport.

Teammates Will Power and Ryan Briscoe started off with successful runs as well, with Power posting the ninth-fastest lap during the second session and Briscoe checking in with 16th-fastest lap of the day.

Castroneves led all IZOD IndyCar Series competitors with his No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet as he paced the 25-car field with a lap of 76.4920 seconds. The Brazilian three-time Indy 500 champion owns an average starting position of fourth in four previous races in Edmonton will look to add to his pole winning effort from earlier this season at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday.

“The Penske Truck Rental team did a great job today putting together a great package,” said Castroneves. “We like the direction that we are going and we are very encouraged for tomorrow.  We know tomorrow and Sunday are the days that matter so we’ll continue working because we want to stay up front then. We are looking forward to tomorrow for sure.”

Power’s fastest lap around the 13-turn, 2.224-mile temporary street course was clocked at 76.7168 seconds. The driver of No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet previously won the pole at Edmonton in 2009 and 2010. 

“Today showed that the racing here in Edmonton is going to be very competitive,” said Power, the defending race winner at Edmonton. “It’s tough out there and I was pleased with what we were able to get done in the Verizon car. We will see what effects the weather has on tomorrow’s qualifying but I expect things to be tight.”

Briscoe recorded his best lap of 76.9331 seconds on lap 11 during his second session in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The 2008 pole winner at Edmonton, Briscoe will attempt to win a Team Penske-high third pole on Saturday, when rain is in the forecast.

“It was a good day for the No. 2 Hitachi car, we tested a lot,” said Briscoe. “We are probably lacking a little speed and I think we just need to get the balance right – we lost the balance in the second practice. But that’s okay because we were learning. It looks like the 3 car was pretty solid so we’ll be able to look at the changes they made and try to put it together tomorrow for qualifying.”

Practice resumes Saturday at 11 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying which will take place at 3 p.m. ET and will be televised at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Sunday’s race is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. ET, with live coverage by NBC Sports Network.

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