Power Leads Team Penske During Practice at Long Beach

April 20, 2013

LONG BEACH, Calif.(April 19, 2013) – Team Penske continued to pick up momentum and speed over the course of the day Friday as practice began for Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Will Power owned the third-fastest lap of the day with teammate Helio Castroneves close behind with the fifth-fastest time. AJ Allmendinger wound up 19th on the Friday practice rundown.

Power, the defending Long Beach race winner, was clocked at 69.5166 around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile circuit in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.

“We still have some work to do on the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet but P3 isn’t a bad place to start the weekend,” said Power, who will go for his fourth pole on the southern Californian circuit after winning three consecutive from 2009-2011. “We are going to find what we need for those last bits of speed and be ready for what is going to be a really competitive qualifying session tomorrow.”

Castroneves, the current IZOD IndyCar Series point leader and the 2001 race winner at Long Beach, recorded a time of 69.6608 seconds in the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The Brazilian driver made one of the biggest improvements on the day, jumping 10 spots from his 15th position in the first practice session.

“The Auto Club Chevrolet was really good today, we actually had a faster lap than we showed but that got taken away,“ said Castroneves, who has earned a spot in the Firestone Fast Six in two of the last three year qualifying sessions at Long Beach. “We are happy with the gains we made between the (practice) sessions and the car should be fast all weekend. I am excited to see what we can do in qualifying tomorrow.”

Allmendinger, in his second race competing in the No. 2 Penske Automotive Dallara/Chevrolet, had a fast lap of 70.5424 seconds.

“We were a little off in the first session but luckily the No. 2 Penske Automotive Chevrolet made some gains in the second practice,” said Allmendinger who qualified fourth in his last race at Long Beach in 2006. “After seven years away there are definitely some differences from what I remember, especially with how rough the track was. All in all a tough day but a productive day and we are ready for a good qualifying session tomorrow.”

Power and his Team Penske teammates will go for the pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session, which begins at 5 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach is scheduled to begin at 4:45 p.m. ET with NBC Sports Network beginning its broadcast at 4 p.m. ET.

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