Team Penske Readies for Grand Prix of Louisiana

April 10, 2015

Avondale, LA (April 10, 2015) – Fresh from its 1-2-4-5 finish in the Verizon IndyCar Series season opener on March 29 in St. Petersburg, Fla., Team Penske posted four of the fastest 14 laps during the first day of practice for Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. All 24 series drivers set their fastest time during the first session of the day as the second practice was delayed by rain, which resulted in slower lap times once the cars took to the NOLA Motorsports Park surface.

Defending series champion Will Power led the way for Team Penske with a lap of 1:18.9292 in the first session around the 13-turn, 2.67-mile road course in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, which was good for the second-fastest time of the day. Simon Pagenaud was fifth-fastest overall at 1:19.2782 in the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet.

The two were followed by Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, whose time of 1:19:5876 seconds was good for the 10th-fastest time, and Helio Castroneves who turned the 14th-fastest lap of 1:19:7333 seconds in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevy.

"NOLA Motorsports Park is a really cool track, really fun,” said Power. “The two road courses that I absolutely love are this track and the Indy road course. They are just a lot of fun and have very similar flows to them."

This will be the first Verizon IndyCar Series race at NOLA, which was designed by Alan Wilson, who also designed Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala., site of the fourth race of the 2015 IndyCar season.

“I am happy with the car so far,” stated Pagenaud. “We knew that some other teams may be a bit better than us when we first came off the transporter because they chose to test here prior to St. Pete and we chose to focus on our street course setups at Sebring. I am confident we are heading in the right direction, but with the weather that may come into play for the weekend we have to be ready for anything.”

Team Penske turned in a remarkable performance at St. Petersburg, with Montoya recording his 13th IndyCar win and second since returning to the series last year after a 14-year absence.

"We tried a lot of things today on the Verizon car,” said Montoya. “I wasn't really happy with the balance of the car this morning. We still have a ways to go. It was a lot of fun to get out there and get some laps when the track was drying.  We don't know what the weather will do tomorrow or Sunday so we'll just have to see what it brings for the rest of the weekend."

Power led a 1-2-3-4 qualifying effort for Team Penske at St. Petersburg, and he hopes to repeat the feat Saturday when qualifying begins at 5:15 p.m. ET. The sessions will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) beginning at 5 p.m.

Castroneves, who finished fourth in the season opener, said he’s excited for the first race at NOLA.

"To be honest, we still have some work to do here at NOLA,” stated Castroneves. “We are close but we still need to find a little more. We did want to make a few changes to the Hitachi car between the morning practice and the afternoon session, but the rain kind of hurt that. It was good to get back out there for a few laps after the track dried but we weren't able to do too much with it. We will try to see what we can do on Saturday."

NBCSN will broadcast Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.