Team Penske Quick In Practice At Long Beach

April 17, 2015

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 17, 2015) – Team Penske got back into the fray Friday with more impressive speed during the first day of practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB). All four Team Penske drivers recorded laps among the top five in the 23-car field for the 32nd annual race.
Two-time TGPLB winner and current Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Will Power, led the way with a lap of 1:97.5485 around the 1.97-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“The Verizon Chevy was pretty good today,” said Power. “A lot of cars were running and laying rubber, but with the new aero kits and everything, the cars were just faster. It’s always super tight around here when it gets to qualifying. The top six are usually separated by about a tenth and a half (of a second) or something. So definitely a track with a lot of corners, I don’t know why it is stacked so closely, I think that is going to be the case tomorrow. So you will have to do your homework.”
Simon Pagenaud was second-fastest as he posted a time of 1:07.5855 in the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Chevrolet.
“I love coming to Long Beach,” stated Pagenaud. “It’s one of my favorite – if not my favorite – stops on the circuit. The history of this place is amazing for IndyCar. It is great to be part of it. The Penske Truck Rental team has been very solid to start the season. It’s just a matter of us getting a bit of luck on our side. I feel like a win is coming and I’d like nothing more than for it to happen this weekend.”

Helio Castroneves, who finished second in the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday afternoon, had the third-fastest lap -- 1:07.9132 in the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet.
“Obviously all of the Chevrolet teams were thrown a little bit of a curveball this morning with the changes to the aero kits,” said Castroneves, who won at Long Beach in 2001. “We are all in the same boat on that and we will make the best of it. The four Team Penske Chevrolets are still very fast at the top of the speed charts. We collected a lot of information in the first practice about how the downforce changed and we made some really good changes for the second session. We are still improving it and have another session tomorrow to make the No. 3 Automobile Club of Southern California Chevy better before qualifying.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the season opener in St. Petersburg and leads the Verizon IndyCar Series standings heading into this weekend, had the fifth-fastest lap of the day -- 1:08.0539 in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevy.
“I was really happy with the No. 2 Verizon Chevy in the first practice,” stated Montoya, the 1999 winner on the streets of Long Beach. “It had a lot of speed. We made a few changes for the second practice and it just didn’t respond like we hoped, but we have a pretty good car and we have something we can work with. Qualifying is going to be very important for us. We’ve made a lot of strides in that area this year and I’m confident that we can get a good starting spot tomorrow afternoon.”
A third practice session will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. ET before qualifying begins at 5 p.m. ET.
The Grand Prix of Long Beach will air this Sunday on the NBC Sports Network. Coverage will begin at 4 p.m. ET.