Power Rapid In Opening Round Of IndyCar Practice At St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Fla. – Will Power led the way at St. Petersburg on Friday as the IZOD IndyCar Series teams took their first laps of the new season. In preparation for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, two practice sessions were run on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile course.

Seeking his fourth consecutive pole position at St. Petersburg, Power topped all 25 entrants with a speed of 105.457 miles per hour while driving the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

“We got our fast lap in early, but we’ve got more work to do,” stated Power, expressing bewilderment with the slow speeds of the Honda entrants. “With Ganassi, I think it is an engine thing, but I guess we will see when qualifying comes. I think that’s when everyone knows where everyone stands and hopefully they are not good.”

Addressing the good start to the weekend, he added, “This is normal. We expect to be at the front, and we are disappointed if we are back because we have the team to do it.”

Power’s closest foe was Ryan Hunter-Reay, who topped the field in the morning run. For the day, the IndyCar Series champion zipped around the course at a speed of 105.152 mph in the DHL Chevrolet.

Said Hunter-Reay, “It is nice to get a good day in, but it is early still. The track is rubbering in, and it is changing constantly. It is amazing how quickly these tracks change, and we are making changes to try and catch up. But there’s a big gap between us and Will (Power). It is good to go into tomorrow knowing how well we have done today, and it is good to be on the sharp end on the first day.”

Simona de Silvestro’s debut with a new team was a good one as she timed third in the Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet. Her speed was 105.042 mph.

Discussing her noticeable improvement, she said, “Last year we can here knowing it was going to be a struggle, and this year we showed right away that we were quick. We have a little of work to do on the car but it is a big relief to know that we are going to be fast and right up there with the other guys.”

The top-three topped the 105 mark with everyone else between the high 104s down to Ana Beatriz at the bottom with a speed of slightly more than 101.

Oriol Servia practiced fourth fastest in a Chevrolet and Takuma Sato was in fifth with the swiftest Honda.

Behind them came three-time race winner Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, rookie Tristan Vautier and Marco Andretti.

Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon were far down the list with the 17th and 19th fastest times, respectively.

On Saturday morning, a third practice round will be held with qualifications following at 2 p.m. ET.

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