Power tops Friday IndyCar practice in Baltimore
Power's time of 1m22.1379s was just fast enough to top Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti.
Helio Castroneves wound up 3rd ahead of Andretti teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay (New Hampshire winner) and Long Beach street circuit winner Mike Conway.
The two fastest drivers, Power and Franchitti, said they liked the track more than they anticipated. It's busy and it's bumpy and bump tracks are always fairly exciting.
"Obviously, the fans and drivers are disappointed with the delays, but there's always some growing pains with a first event," Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing driver Graham Rahal said.
One 75-minute session (condensed from two scheduled practices totaling 2 hours, 15 minutes) was held, with Verizon Team Penske's Will Power posting the best lap time of 1 minute, 22.1739 seconds. IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was second (1:22.2162) was second and Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (1:22.2846) was third of the 28 entries.
"I like the layout of the circuit. It's very cool and very challenging," Castroneves said. "Some of the surface is so smooth and other parts are pretty rough, but every street course has it's challenges, especially the first year. We certainly have a few things to work on with the No. 3 car, but we're going in a good direction."
The only incidents were Ryan Briscoe's crash in one of the silly chicane's and EJ Viso who spun twice.
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."
Action at the new Camden Yards temporary street circuit continues Saturday with a final practice, followed by Firestone "Fast Six" knockout qualifying. Sunday's 75-lap race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on VERSUS.
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, fastest of the day): "You are working the entire time, and it is a pretty cool track. 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."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske, third fastest): "This is a really good starting point for us in the Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car. 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 it's 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."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The track is very cool. A bit bumpy in places and the chicane is pretty tight. Turn one will be good under braking so there will be some good opportunities for passing maybe in turns two and three. Unfortunately I locked up under braking and got into the wall early in the session. Not the way we wanted to start but the Target team will bounce back."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Guidepoint Systems Team Penske): "It's a shame because we were really feeling good in the Guidepoint Systems car before we hit the wall. I was a little worried about that corner (turn 5) 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 wheels 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."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "This track is a challenge for both drivers and engineers. It's full of different types of surface and has bumpier and smoother areas. It will come down to who gets the best compromise from their car to be at the top. I think it is fun. There are a couple of areas that could be a little better, a little faster. But for a first guess, I think they did a very good job with the track. The session was good, I felt okay. The Telemundo team was P19 but everybody put on new tires and we didn't so I think we are in the top-10; nothing stellar yet but there is something to work on."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "This is a fun, challenging little track. It definitely feels a lot tighter in a 650 horsepower car than it did on a bicycle (rode a bicycle on the track earlier today) so you really appreciate just how tight and tricky some of these sectors are. At the end of the day, they have done a good job with the track. The front is really bumpy but the rest of the track is quote smooth and pretty nice. It's a good layout with some technical parts. It's really tricky and difficult to get one full lap together will all your best sectors so qualifying is going to be a serious test. The car ran well and the setup, off the transporter, is pretty good so we'll keep tweaking at it a little bit, look at some video and data and I'm sure I will improve a bit and the car will improve a bit too. We will just take it one session at a time."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen): "The Baltimore Grand Prix circuit is a lot of fun. It's like two tracks; the asphalt side down around the stadium is smooth with a lot of grip and Pratt Street and Light Street are concrete and really rough and slippery. You have to balance the two and I think the No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen car was pretty solid underneath me. We had a little traffic, but with 28 cars around a two-mile lap it's bound to happen. It's a good start to the weekend for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing here in Baltimore."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "It was a really good practice for the Service Central team. The No. 38 Service Central car was really good. We kept improving throughout the practice session and I think it's only going to get better. The Baltimore Grand Prix circuit is a great track; I think it's a great layout and a great place. I feel pretty confident going into the weekend."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "After the first day we have a lot to do and we'll make some big changes overnight but we have a clear direction on where to go with our ABC Supply car. Today I wanted to make sure we had as many laps as possible on track. It is very busy out there—much busier than we thought it would be from our track recon [reconnaissance] yesterday. Overall, I think the city did a good job with the track. They had a lot of work to do to but it's race ready."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "Sure, it's bumpy and its rough and we know there are some improvements to make to the track. But when a promoter goes to this much work to put on a world class event, we need to be appreciative of that. I mean, there's a big crowd here today. The turnout is fantastic for a Friday. It's their first year, but they've done a good job, and again, we need to recognize them for that. I can promise you that they're so happy that we're here that in year two they will be a lot more aggressive in the track preparation. But, this is normal for a first year event. For us, it's going to be a big challenge for the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins crew and me. Hopefully, we can hit the set up in practice one. That will be super important. Other than that, I'd say that it was a good first session for our team. We made a change in the last six minutes, and we really jumped up. We know where we need to work, and we couldn't really fix it on pit lane. We'll get it fixed, and we should be a lot better tomorrow."
MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 17 Snowball Express/AFS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I love the new layout. It's really challenging, but it's a fun layout. It's extremely bumpy at the moment, and that's presenting the most problems for many of us. Everyone was in the same position going into this weekend. Some teams arrived hitting the ground running, and some have got to do more work. We're in that camp. We're not where we want to be, obviously. Toward the end of the session, I was just starting to get confident in the No. 17 Snowball Express AFS/SSM car and how it was being compliant over the bumps. I was just starting to get in a rhythm, unfortunately we ran out of time there. We're getting closer to the pace, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 07 Team REDLINE Xtreme): "Today was good. Unfortunately, we didn't get as much track time as we would have liked. The set-up seems to be decent and we'll see what happens for tomorrow. Overall, I think it was pretty positive day for my first day back."
GIORGIO PANTANO (No. 22 Roll Coater): "I'm very happy with today. The Roll Coater car seems to be okay. Right now, we are working on fixing some things. With the cars that we had today we weren't able to get a good lap time. Tomorrow, I'm sure we will be at the top.
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Kellogg's): "Well, that was pretty busy out there. I'm just figuring my way around, I still think there's a couple of areas that I could improve on. It's a challenge for the engineers, for the drivers..I'm pretty busy out there hanging on to the thing. It was a tough day for the fans because of the wait, but they stuck it out and on that first lap the stands were pretty full there. Whatever modifications that need to be made to the track before tomorrow need to be made soon, because we want to make sure that it's a good day for the fans since they're very excited to be here. We're glad to be here, we're looking forward to it."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 24 Team Ipiranga/DRR): "I think this track is one of the roughest tracks that I have ever been to. It's so bumpy and in some of the corners my hands come off of the steering wheel because it's very, very bumpy. We just need to keep working on it. We will push hard tomorrow so that we can get closer, and I'm sure that we will."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "It was a tough practice session to get a rhythm on because it was interrupted so much by yellows. But we're fourth right now and I think we have a pretty good starting point for the DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car. Hopefully tomorrow we'll make the usual steps that we do on street courses and keep moving forward."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Team Buffalo Wild Wings): "The track is pretty cool. It's very tight and twisty and you have to be careful through some sectors. It's hard to get the car dialed in but all in all the Buffalo Wild Wings car has been pretty good today. We'll keep working on the car and dial it in for qualifying tomorrow."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "The most important thing for me with tracks like this is making sure you are comfortable with the car. I was getting more comfortable as practice went on but the GoDaddy car is not where I want to be. It just takes me a while to really learn a new track and it's hard when you've only had one practice session. Thankfully we have one more practice before we qualify tomorrow."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team All Natural Snapple): "It's a lot of fun out there - I had a great time driving the Snapple car, but we are still struggling a bit. We'll put our heads together, makes some changes and hopefully improve before qualifying tomorrow."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 34 Bogata Es Mundial Conquest Racing): "I'm very happy with this first contact with the track. The circuit itself is very technical and very interesting to work with. This year's high performance level of all 28 drivers is going to make it even more interesting. Our goal right now is to keep the pace with the top 10 as everyone will improve for tomorrow. We can't stop working on the car and going faster. I was very comfortable with the car but traffic didn't let us show our full potential."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing): "We had a bit of a gearbox issue that put us down during the middle of the sessions, and we only had a couple laps once we got back out. We feel fine where we are and just didn't get the laps in to keep up with the track and the guys who were running the entire time. I like the circuit; it's definitely technical and has a couple neat sections that are unique to street courses. It's an interesting challenge and really makes you work for the lap time. Beyond that it's exciting to be here in Baltimore, we've got a big group of National Guard and Youth Challenge guests here cheering us on and that's always cool to have that support for an event."
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