TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 8, 2011) – Will Power led Team Penske by recording the fastest lap Friday during the first day of practice for the Honda Indy Toronto.
Power posted a top lap of 1:00.558 around the 11-turn, 1.76-mile street course in the No.12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda. Teammates Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves also recorded strong laps as they wound up eighth- and ninth-fastest, respectively, on the day.
Power said, despite the strong lap turned at the end of the afternoon practice session, he feels the car needs to be even better for Saturday’s qualifying session.
“The Verizon car is good, but we are still not quick enough,” said Power. “We put tires on there at the end of the second practice and no one else did. We are just a bit off the pace. We still have a few things in mind to improve the car. It is great to be in Toronto, though, and really good to see all the fans."
Driving the No. 6 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske machine, Briscoe was clocked at 1:01.149 in Friday’s second practice.
“It was a good couple of sessions for us today in the No. 6 PPG Automotive Refinish car,” said Briscoe. “We made a lot progress from one session to the next, and I feel we’re right on track for tomorrow as we prepare for qualifying. We worked on just finding the right balance on the car with the new tire here in Toronto and getting back into the groove of street-course racing. We felt pretty good by the end of the second session.”
After finishing second in the morning practice, Castroneves owned a top lap of 1:01.179 in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda in the afternoon.
“Overall, it was a good day for the Penske Truck Rental team,” said Castroneves. “Right off the bat, the car had good balance and good speed here in Toronto. We didn’t put on new tires at the end of the last practice – I wanted to, but my new strategist (John Erickson) is already working on trying something different, so I listened to him. I love the yellow car and the yellow suit of Penske Truck Rental. It reminds me of ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ Let’s hope we have the same kind of result this weekend.”
Beginning this weekend, Team Penske is adjusting its race strategy for the remainder of the 2011 season. Tim Cindric will now call the strategy for Power and the No. 12 Verizon team while John Erickson rejoins Team Penske as strategist for the No. 3 car driven by Castroneves. Roger Penske will continue to call race strategy for Briscoe and the No. 6 team while Clive Howell, who had called the strategy for the No. 12 team, will focus on his team general manager duties.
Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 12:50 p.m. ET Saturday. Coverage of Sunday’s 85-lap Honda Indy Toronto – the 10th race of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season – will begin at 2 p.m. ET on Versus.