Power Fastest Penske Entry in Baltiomre Practice

August 31, 2012

BALTIMORE, Md. (August 31, 2012) – IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power led Team Penske on Friday during early preparation for the Grand Prix of Baltimore.

Power, who won the inaugural Grand Prix of Baltimore from the pole in 2011, was clocked at 81.0185 around the 13-turn, 2.04-mile street course in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The lap proved to be the fastest among of the field of 25 on the first day of practice for Sunday's race. A chicane was added to the course in Turn 13 after the morning practice to slow the cars down in order to ease the bumps over the train tracks in that portion of the street circuit.

“Yeah, it was good to come out strong today in the Verizon car,” said Power, who is tied for the IZOD IndyCar Series lead with four poles earned in 2012. “The change they made to the circuit with the chicane was definitely the right thing to do because it stopped the problems we were having with the train tracks. At the end of the day, it’s the same for everyone and we need to do what it takes to be quick around the course. I think it’s going to be a good race for the fans here in Baltimore and hopefully we can keep going and put together a strong result.”

Power enters the weekend with a 36-point lead in the series championship standings.

Helio Castroneves, who is ranked third in the series standings with two races remaining, had the 12th-fastest lap of the day, as he was clocked at 82.3529 in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet. The three-time Indianapolis 500 Champion will attempt to win his second pole of 2012 on Saturday.

“What an interesting day for the track and the Penske Truck Rental car,” said Castroneves. “We had a slight problem with the brakes that we discovered towards the end of the session so we decided to stop so that we don’t have long term issues. We are looking forward to seeing how things are for tomorrow.”

Ryan Briscoe, the winner of last Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway, recorded a fast lap of 82.5584, placing the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 14th on the practice rundown. A two-time polewinner in 2012, Briscoe has earned a spot the Firestone Fast Six pole shootout in the last three consecutive races.

“This track is a really physical bumpy course, but we knew that coming in after last year’s race,” said Briscoe, who qualified third in the 2011 Grand Prix of Baltimore. “Overall the No.2 PPG machine performed well this afternoon and my guys did a great job making last-minute changes to the car as decisions with the track were being made. I know heading into qualifying, I know I’m going to have good car under me and we’ll be ready to compete.”

Qualifications are scheduled to begin Saturday at 12:05 p.m. ET with qualifying coverage set to air on NBC Sports Network at 6 pm. Live coverage of Sunday’s race is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.

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