Power And Castroneves Lead The Way In IndyCar Practice At Barber

Leeds, Ala. – On Friday at Barber Motorsports Park, Will Power led the way in the first round of IZOD IndyCar Series practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. A year ago, Power led all 90 laps en route to victory and he hopes to do the same in 2012.

Power drives the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, one of three cars entered by Team Penske. Power’s speed today was 116.148 miles per hour.

“Leading the way today gives me more confidence for tomorrow, if the track is dry,” Power said. “We have a good set-up and we were quick in St. Pete as well. We just have to get the most out of the race.”

Qualifying could be a challenge, according to Power. “I think qualifying will be mixed up as the track has weepers. And I think there will be wet patches,” he said.

Power said the new car has more grip and speed. “Our new car has a lot more grip than the old one, so it doesn’t bother us as the track loses grip, even though the track gets more polished each year,” he added.

Teammate Helio Castroneves had the second fastest speed of 115.803 mph. He drives the AAA Insurance Penske.

Said the colorful driver, “Our practice went well. The test we had here seems to be paying off, and right now I feel comfortable with the car. Team Penske has done a good job. I am super excited about qualifying tomorrow, and we just want to continue carrying the momentum from St. Pete.”

Third fastest at 115.706 mph was Takuma Sato in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda with Josef Newgarden holding down the fourth spot at 115.661 mph.

Twenty-six IZOD IndyCar Series teams are on hand at the picturesque 2.3-mile road course situated on the outskirts of Birmingham, Ala., and they all took to the track before a severe electrical storm raced through just as the first round of practice concluded.

Rain delayed the second practice session for a while and when it did get underway, a light rain was falling and it picked up as the on-track action continued. In total, 18 cars went out with Sato leading the way, although at a slower pace due to the wet track conditions.

Sebastian Bourdais was second fastest followed by Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Rubens Barrichello.

Sato only took three laps while Katherine Legge led everyone with 11 circuits.

Neither Power nor Castroneves went out during the rainy session.

A red flag ended the second round of practice with 15 minutes to go. By then, the intensity of the rainstorm had picked up.

Practice continues on Saturday morning with qualifications taking place at 10:40 a.m. ET.

The Honda Indy Grand Prix will be telecast live by the NBC Sports Network on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

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