Power Posts Top Time in Baltimore to Lead Friday Practice for Team Penske
September 2, 2011
BALTIMORE, Md. (September 2, 2011) – Will Power carried the momentum of his victory last Sunday at Infineon Raceway to a brand-new venue by posting the fastest lap Friday during the first practice session for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Fresh off the team’s first 1-2-3 finish in nearly 17 years last weekend, Team Penske claimed two of the top three spots in Friday practice.
Helio Castroneves had the third-fastest lap of the session, which was delayed as track workers completed the finishing touches on the first-year downtown street circuit. Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe made contact with the wall on his 12th practice lap, and his top time wound up being the 18th-fastest of the session.
Power recorded a lap of 1:22.1379 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda around the 12-turn, 2.0-mile street circuit. Afterward, he said he had rave reviews for the challenging new layout.
“The Verizon car was pretty fast today and it was great to see so many fans here on the first day, even with the delayed schedule,” said Power. “They did a really good job creating the circuit. It takes a lot of commitment, and there are several technical bits. It’s bumpy, and I think it will be a great race. It is very tricky in certain places, but that is typical of a street course. I think if they didn’t have the chicane we would have more passing there, but overall I like the course. It is challenging with a lot of corners and the technical requirements.”
Castroneves was clocked at 1:22.1379 in his best lap of 28 completed in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Dallara/Honda.
"This is a really good starting point for us in the Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car,” said Castroneves. “I like the layout of the circuit. It's very cool and very challenging. Some of the surface is so smooth and other parts are pretty rough, but every street course has its challenges, especially the first year. We certainly have a few things to work on with the 3 car, but we're going in a good direction."
Briscoe said he still felt good about his chances in the No. 6 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske Dallara/Honda in spite of the incident in Turn 5. He owned the third-fastest time of the session when the car made contact with the wall.
"It's a shame because we were really feeling good in the Guidepoint Systems car before we hit the wall,” said Briscoe. “I was a little worried about that corner and maybe I jinxed myself because I said something the lap before. It's kind of a dangerous corner – very fast – and I got in a little hot and the right front wheel clipped the tire barrier and that was it; we hit the wall. We were really fast out there and it's a fun track. It's busy out there but a lot of fun. It's going to be an interesting race, for sure."
Pole qualifying is set for Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET and will be televised by VERSUS at 6 p.m. ET. Live coverage of the Sunday’s race will begin at 2 p.m. ET on VERSUS.