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After Fontana
Final Driver Standings

Rank Driver Points
1 Will Power 671
2 Helio Castroneves 609
3 Scott Dixon 604
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 586
5 Simon Pagenaud 565
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 563
7 Tony Kanaan 544
8 Carlos Munoz 483
9 Marco Andretti 463
10 Sebastien Bourdais 461
11 Ryan Briscoe 461
12 James Hinchcliffe 456
13 Josef Newgarden 406
14 Charlie Kimball 402
15 Justin Wilson 395
16 Mikhail Aleshin 372
17 Jack Hawksworth 366
18 Takuma Sato 350
19 Graham Rahal 345
20 Carlos Huertas 314
21 Sebastian Saavedra 291
22 Ed Carpenter 262
23 Mike Conway 252
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch 80
26 J.R. Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam 57
28 Luca Filippi 46
29 James Davison 34
30 Jacques Villeneuve 29
31 Alex Tagliani 28
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8
Motegi: Will Power tops Friday practice

Indycars in Japan
Friday, September 16, 2011

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Will Power
The IndyCars were on track in Motegi for their only practice session on Friday on the road course in Motegi under slightly overcast skies and a temperature of 93 degrees with some humidity.  A lot of Japanese IndyCar fans are on hand for a Friday and they love seeing the cars on the road course instead of droning around in circles on the dizzying oval. 

Will Power topped the time chart with a lap of 1 minute, 39.4745 seconds on the 2.983-mile, 14-turn Twin Ring Motegi road course in the initial practice session for the Indy Japan.

Power, seeking to wrap up his second consecutive Mario Andretti Road Trophy, was among the three Team Penske drivers in the top five. Helio Castroneves (1:39.5965) was second and Ryan Briscoe (1:40.1887) was fourth.

Rookie James Hinchcliffe placed third in the No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing car, while Marco Andretti was fifth in the No. 26 Team Venom Energy entry for Andretti Autosport. The top 10 were separated by less than a second. Local favorite Takuma Sato was 10th in the No. 5 KV Racing Technology-Lotus car.

Will Power in the dirt
"It's a very, very nice circuit," said Power, who enters the 63-lap race Sept. 18 five points behind front-runner Dario Franchitti in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship chase and leads Franchitti by 14 points in the Mario Andretti Road Trophy duel. "It's smooth, flowing.  It's one of the nicest circuits we've been to all year.  I think it is going to be tough to pass. I think (the best opportunity is) Turn 11, after the long backstraight. Maybe down in Turn 3, too."

It's the first time the IZOD IndyCar Series, which has competed at Twin Ring Motegi since 2003, has utilized the road course. Damage to the 1.5-mile oval from the March 11 earthquake prompted the switch to the road course.

POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): (About the new circuit): "It's a lot of fun to drive.  It's challenging. I enjoyed my first session." (About where they can make gains on track):  "I'm sure everyone is going to go back and look at their teammates data to find out the areas where they are really good and areas they are really bad and try to tie it all together for tomorrow. That's the usual thing on a new track.  The Target boys did a good job showing up with a car that was quite close. I think a lot of people ran a second set of tires.  We ran just one set so I'm fairly happy. We'll work hard tonight and see where we come out tomorrow. "

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Hitachi Team Penske): "The Hitachi car felt pretty good out there today, although we have a little work to do to get the most out of the car. The Motegi road circuit is very nice, but it's very slippery out there. I'm sure the track will grip up and we have a bit left in the car so tomorrow should be good."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing): "The track is smooth. It's a lot more slippery than we thought. Next time, I will make sure to play (the Motegi course on) Gran Turismo like James did. Obviously our car is not bad with James running as well as he is. I just need to pick it up a little. As expected, we received a great welcome from the Japanese people. Yesterday was interesting to feel the earthquake but I hope there are no more. The fans are great as usual. I really hope this isn't the last time we come back to race in Japan. My visor went for 50,000 yen which, I think was a high number. It felt good to help raise money for a good cause."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "Now I can justify to my girlfriend why I was in the basement on Playstation for three days. The track is quite cool. You can tell that everything was laid out well here. The place is immaculate and it's the smoothest place we run on all year. The layout is cool with some technical sections and great braking zones. The track is very slippery though. It felt like an out lap every lap because it's so slippery. The big challenge will be to predict what will happen tomorrow. Since there are no support series here with us, the track won't come up to grip as quick as a normal weekend. This weekend will be about hard work and trying to stay ahead of everything. (About jetlag:) "Yesterday was pretty rough. I had to force myself to stay up to 9 p.m. but then I managed to sleep 11 hours straight and I feel right as rain."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "It's a very, very nice circuit.  It's smooth, flowing.  It's one of the nicest circuits we've been to all year.  I think it is going to be tough to pass. I think (the best opportunity is) Turn 11, after the long backstraight, that's a potential area to pass. Maybe down in Turn 3.  It seems like it's going to be hard to pass.

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom): "The track is fun and I think it's going to race well, but there's just no grip out there right now. Even the guys in the top five aren't totally happy with their cars I'm sure. We'll go through our data tonight and hopefully keep the Venom car running in the top and qualify well tomorrow."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "We started out really well with the DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car - when everybody was still learning the track, but we ended up too far off. I think we're going to have to change the game plan for tomorrow. Weather might play a factor as well with the chance of rain, but regardless we're going to have to change the car quite a bit."

MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 @FollowAndretti): "The circuit is cool and I had a lot of fun but we still have a long way to go on getting the @FollowAndretti car right. It's still quite difficult to get around at the moment but we can work on it. One of the team cars is in the top five so we'll see what we've got and go from there."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "The track is really nice and it seems relatively straight forward to get going. It's not extremely tricky and that's probably in part because it's so nice and smooth you can put the car where you want it. But we're struggling for grip out there, it's very slippery and the Go Daddy car never really took a set like it needs to in corners. I was just waiting for it as it slid through corners and the corners here are so long so you lose so much time when that happens. We continue to make little improvements along the way but we still have a ways to go."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske): "This track is more like Elkhart Lake. It's impressive. The runoff areas are pretty nice. The track is very smooth, especially coming from our last race on a street course. It looks like there are a lot of places for overtaking. It's very challenging. The corners are long. Sometimes we got too hot coming into a corner and it upset the exit. Sometimes we were too slow coming in and we had plenty of exit. It's very technical. We're very lucky that the car came out of the plane with the brakes set up."

JP de OLIVEIRA (No. 34 Ceremony Conquest Racing): "The car feels very different from what I'm used to, so I need to re-adapt in terms of driving style, but I feel like we progressed through the session. We had an issue with the pedals as my feet are not touching the floor when I have to push the brake and throttle pedals. That compromised a lot our lap time through the session, however I was able to get the feeling from the car and start chipping away."

Results

Rank

Car Driver Time Diff. Gap Laps
1 12 Will Power 1:39.4745 0.0000 0.0000 21
2 03 Helio Castroneves 1:39.5965 0.1220 0.1220 24
3 06 James Hinchcliffe 1:39.8531 0.3786 0.2566 22
4 6 Ryan Briscoe 1:40.1887 0.7142 0.3356 24
5 26 Marco Andretti 1:40.2584 0.7839 0.0697 16
6 77 Alex Tagliani 1:40.2649 0.7904 0.0065 17
7 10 Dario Franchitti 1:40.3108 0.8363 0.0459 18
8 34 Joao Paulo de Oliveira 1:40.3299 0.8554 0.0191 25
9 19 Sebastien Bourdais 1:40.3948 0.9203 0.0649 24
10 5 Takuma Sato 1:40.4435 0.9690 0.0487 25
11 17 Hideki Mutoh 1:40.5328 1.0583 0.0893 18
12 4 JR Hildebrand 1:40.5435 1.0690 0.0107 23
13 18 James Jakes 1:40.5580 1.0835 0.0145 20
14 82 Tony Kanaan 1:40.6600 1.1855 0.1020 23
15 9 Scott Dixon 1:40.7175 1.2430 0.0575 18
16 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:40.7389 1.2644 0.0214 20
17 14 Vitor Meira 1:40.7961 1.3216 0.0572 25
18 59 EJ Viso 1:40.8351 1.3606 0.0390 22
19 2 Oriol Servia 1:40.8577 1.3832 0.0226 17
20 83 Charlie Kimball 1:40.9505 1.4760 0.0928 22
21 22 Giorgio Pantano 1:40.9659 1.4914 0.0154 23
22 38 Graham Rahal 1:41.2056 1.7311 0.2397 21
23 27 Mike Conway 1:41.2987 1.8242 0.0931 21
24 7 Danica Patrick 1:41.4164 1.9419 0.1177 24
25 78 Simona de Silvestro 1:41.4495 1.9750 0.0331 20
26 24 Ana Beatriz 1:41.4711 1.9966 0.0216 27

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