Will Power dominates IndyCar practice
So dominant was Power's performance that the gap to 2nd place Scott Dixon was a full 7/10ths of a second, unheard of in the spec world of IndyCar Racing today. To put it in perspective, 7/10ths of a second covered the next 17 cars.
Power also topped this morning's practice and it's clear that he and his team have hit on the right setup for this track.
Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top-5 in their Andretti Motorsports entries.
E. J. Viso was sixth on the combined practice report recording the team’s fastest lap with a time of 63.0890 seconds (102.712 mph), on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn St. Petersburg temporary street circuit. Takuma Sato, who made his debut in the green and yellow #5 Lotus Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, was just a tick slower with a lap of 63.0930 (102.706 mph) putting him seventh on the speed charts.
Dario Franchitti, who is always a contender to win, missed about half the session when he went into Turn 4 too deep and caught the wall. He had moderate car damage to the left side.
Mario Moraes missed pretty much the entire session after a spin in Turn 13 on his first lap.
The top-5 laps of the day were all turned in the afternoon session.
Tomorrow will feature a practice session beginning at 9:55 a.m. followed by qualifying starting at 1:20 p.m. ET.
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, first): "It was a good day. We are getting the car better each session. After this run, the car is more like what I like to drive. It feels good. There is a long weekend ahead of us, with weather and everything. But I am feeling good going into tomorrow."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, second): "Practice went OK. The car was not great. We had quite a few issues in the morning session, and the second session didn't start too well. We ended up second, but we are still a long ways from Will. Dario hit the wall, and I was expecting that he would have been pretty quick, as well. We have a lot of work to do. Hopefully we can carry some of the momentum from today into tomorrow and make some good changes."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/DRR, third): "The track conditions were good. No problems. From the morning to the afternoon, we made some geometry changes, and the car had good balance. We just need to work on the brakes, and we will be right on. We have a chance to be a top-three car and, with any luck, win this thing."
RAFAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP Luczo Dragon, 19th): "We are definitely not where we want to be, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. The good news is we made great progress from the morning to the afternoon, and there is a lot of room for improvement. Now it's up to us to study the data, sit down and talk and figure out what we're going to do for tomorrow."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic, 12th): "The Formula Dream/Panasonic car was very good from the get-go, and we were fifth fastest in the first session. We made a change to the car between the sessions, and I think it was a good one. We are improving little-by-little. It was very hard to get a clear lap in the afternoon session, and it was hard for me to put everything together when we did have a mostly clear lap. And my last lap was the best lap, so we will try to continue the progress tomorrow. We have a couple more things to do to improve the car, and I need to drive better to get the most out of it."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, 13th): "It is great to be back in St. Pete. The car is good, and we learned a few things in that session. I think the Team Penske car will be strong this weekend. We just need to stay consistent throughout the weekend and execute on Sunday. It should be an interesting qualifying and I feel very good going into Sunday's race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, ninth): "After not racing here in St. Pete last season, it's good to be back. I really missed this place. We have a little bit of work to do on the No. 3 Team Penske car, but we are definitely going in the right direction. Qualifying is going to be very important here, so we need to make sure we have a strong day on Saturday so we can be in a good position on Sunday to try and get the win."
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 H2GO Ronn Motors, 22nd): "I spent the day today adjusting this track in the new car. We were able to get some good data to use for improving the car tonight. By tomorrow, we will have made a few changes to try during the morning session, which should hopefully allow us to qualifying well in the afternoon."
E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KVRT, sixth): "The PDVSA - KV Racing Technology had a good recovery after this morning's practice session. The team did a great job, and if it wasn't for getting caught up in traffic on my last lap, I would have had a good chance of finishing second. I feel very happy with how the car felt, and I think tomorrow's qualifying will hopefully prove that.
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology, seventh): "It was great to debut the new Lotus-KV Racing Technology car here in St. Petersburg. The circuit was very interesting, still a little bumpy but not nearly as much as Brazil, with some high-speed sections, which is great fun. We are always improving our setup to have a good car, but overall it was a very productive day, and I look forward to tomorrow."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team, 11th): "Today has been OK. It has pretty much been the same thing as Brazil. I think we are strong team, but we are still searching left and right on the scope of the setups. I think we're going to find it and be right up there in qualifying tomorrow. What we're lacking right now is the data. We don't have enough data on all the tracks right now where we can put all the setups in a funnel and have them come out and say, 'Here is the window we need to be in to unload the car from the truck and be in the top five.' So we're still trying all kinds of things each session, and we definitely still have some work to do. But we are creeping up on it; we have gotten better each outing. We are going to make some pretty big changes for tomorrow morning and hope that we are more in the scope of what this car needs to be fast."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing, 10th): "I think overall it was a pretty good day for myself and Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR). I think we made some ground up that last session and made the car a little bit better. We've still got a bit of work to do to make it more secure for me and to find some speed for the rest of the weekend, but I feel like we're headed in the right general direction. Now we've just got to hone in on what's going to make the car better and faster and keep the tires alive at the same time. We had one really good run on old tires and we went pretty darn quick, so that was good. But there's still a lot of work to be done."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy, eighth): "Overall, I'm pretty happy with where we're at with the Venom car right now. We made really good improvements as a team from this morning, and that's encouraging. We still have some work to do to put ourselves in a better position for qualifying, but I think we've got something good to work with."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD, fifth): "The IZOD car is pretty good, but the competition is so close - really tight here. To end the first day in the top five is a good indicator of where we're at, but we've got some work to do. The car is nowhere near where we need it to be for qualifying, by any means. And, I think this will be one of the closer qualifying sessions we've ever seen, based on the times we saw today. But, still, it was a solid day for the IZOD team. Now we'll go back, look at the data and see where we need to go next."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, fourth): "I'm pleased, but it's just Friday. We don't need to get ahead of ourselves yet. But it was a good start. The team, as a whole, is very competitive, which is good. We can feed off each other. Now, we just need to get all the data together, make the right changes to the 7-Eleven car for the morning and get ready to get into the Firestone Fast Six."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com, 21st): "I have to say that I'm pretty frustrated with my overall times today, but at the same time, I'm only eight tenths of a second off 'P2.' I'm going to get with my teammates and see what we can do to get the GoDaddy car up to speed. So I'm grateful for the practice session we have before qualifying tomorrow."
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