Power and Briscoe use Chevy power to lead Day 1
Power's time of 1m02.0077s was over 1-second fastest than the 1m03.3759s he turned last year to lead Friday's action and 0.0854 of a second quicker than Ryan Briscoe in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet
The next three cars were Ganassi Racing Hondas led by Dario Franchitti, Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon rounding out the top-5.
Simona de Silvestro was the fastest of the Lotus cars in 16th position.
Action in St. Petersburg continues Saturday with a final practice, followed by Firestone "Fast Six" knockout qualifying. The 100-lap race, first in the 16-race 2012 season, starts at 12:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ABC.
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "We didn't do many laps in the second session, we wanted to conserve tires until we have a better understanding of how they degrade and it puts us in a good position for tomorrow in practice. All in all, we'll make some changes over night and see what we can come up with for tomorrow. (About his philosophy in practice): "In practice, you don't have the intensity that you have in qualifying, but you certainly take it seriously as far as getting a good setup. You have to get the car right because that's what you'll be using in qualifying and the race. (About all of the cars together for the first time at an event): "It's actually very tight and very close. It's pretty good."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): "The IZOD Team Penske car is good. It already feels faster than the old car around here, braking later. It feels really good, especially the extra horsepower from the Chevrolet twin-turbo V6. It's definitely a different feel. There's a lot of tuning we can do around the engine drivability and the car setup. I'm enjoying it like a kid with a new toy. I'm having a good time with it. I feel like it is suiting my driving style, and I've been able to learn a lot about my driving style as well with this new car. It's good timing with a new engineer, Jonathan Diuguid. He's doing a great job. It will be his first race as an IndyCar engineer so we're hoping to kick it off with a good one."
JAMES JAKES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "Overall it was a pretty good day for the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car. There are a couple things we need to work out with the car, but I am very confident that we will have a good qualifying session on Saturday afternoon."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Lotus Dragon Racing Lotus): "It was the first day in the car and there was a lot to do. Overall, I'm pretty damn happy that everything went the way that we wanted to. Honestly, if you had told me that we would run two sessions with no problems, I would have signed straight away. We're near the top of the Lotus teams, pretty much. We're seven hundredths behind Simona, who was the fastest. We're just learning about the car and making it better every run and making progress. This is what the team needs. We'll all get a good night's sleep after the boys worked until 3 a.m. last night. It's a good day. A good day."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "I thought it was a great day. It was really nice working with the guys for the first time officially on a race weekend. We made a lot of progress today and hopefully we'll have a lot more to show tomorrow. We feel really positive though and have a good starting package that we just need to keep tuning and make it better. (How did you feel running for the first time on a full race weekend with the IndyCar drivers as opposed to Indy Lights?): "It's definitely a little weird when you're running behind guys like Dixon and Servia, but it felt really normal. The transition from Lights has been really good into IndyCar. I felt really comfortable."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny's BBQ Honda): "We started off OK this morning, but didn't make as much progress as we were hoping to. But I don't think we're as bad as the times look either. At the end of the session we struggled to get the tires up to temperature and got a lot of traffic. I got one clear lap and set a time which was good enough for P9, but for some reason they didn't count it. We were experimenting with a lot of things today, and we feel we've got a direction now. We've just got to keep working at it."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): "We made really big improvements this afternoon on the car side. I know we still have a bit of work ahead of us for qualifying, but I think we're moving in the right direction on the car and also on the engine. We've started creeping up a little bit and it's been going better and better. It's fun."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It was an OK day. Obviously, we would like to have a smaller gap to the front guys. We just need more laps and more things to work on. But we have a direction to go which the team feels good about. I think we'll make some good changes tonight and be ready to go on Saturday. Despite being our first race together, the guys are doing a great job working as a unit. I'm very pleased with the team coordination. We are sorting out the bugs with so much new stuff that has been thrown at them. All in all, I think our program is going really well."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt-Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "It has been a good day so far. Every time we go back out, we improve. We are right there, but it's just a shame we can't run more this afternoon. Something didn't feel right, and I shut it down to be on the safe side. It is what it is, and that's racing. But I'm very happy with the way things are going. The HP car is nice to drive around this street circuit of St. Pete. I love street circuits; they provide you so much adrenaline rush. I still think we'll be good tomorrow."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda: "It was the first day of the season, and basically, it was a trouble-free day which is very important. We collected as much data as possible and had a long list of things to do today but the learning process was quite good. It was good to see the boys able to work on pit stops in a race environment for the first time too. We will continue to work hard tomorrow."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "First day, first race, not too many headaches or new car niggles just sort of getting up to speed and figuring it all out. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Team is going to make some changes overnight. We got some ideas and I think tomorrow again in qualifying we're still shooting for a top-qualifying spot in the No. 83 Novolog Flexpen Honda."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "Overall, I feel like it was a really good day for the Service Central guys. We made a lot of improvements and we feel like there's more time in both myself and the car and so I think we feel good about where we stand both tomorrow and then on into Sunday. There's still work to be done but, overall, I think the guys did a really good job and we're looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We worked today on balance for the most part. Coming back to St. Petersburg with a new car, there are a lot of unknowns obviously. The Target car is good though. We made a number of adjustments in the second session and I think we over-adjusted and got the car too loose. Looking back now I think we should probably have been higher up on the scoring charts."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We're still learning both the engine and the chassis. The Target guys are working hard on it and we have tonight and a practice session tomorrow to get it right for qualifying. You always have these things when you're developing a new car. It's a lot of work."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Lotus-DRR Lotus): "We're obviously not where we want to be, we wanted to be higher. I thought that the TranSystems car and the Lotus engine made progress from the first to second session, but it doesn't really show on the time sheets because it's very tight. It's amazing, you come up with a new car and new engines and you look at the field and it's so tight because two tenths of a second hold four or five people. It really shows how competitive the championship is and it will make us work that much harder to succeed."
KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar/Lotus Dragon Racing Lotus): "In all, today was good. We achieved a lot of what we wanted to achieve. We had some minor issues in the first session with brakes and drivability, which the team quickly addressed. In the second session we were working on several things, including my learning of the track. It is certainly not representative of what this team is capable of. It's been challenging, because we have only had one day of testing in the car before today, when the other teams have had so many more days. We are little bit behind those teams, but we are definitely making progress. I am very happy with the progress, because when the team is making progress, it keeps everyone motivated."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil-Ultra Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet): "It was definitely a good first day for Team Penske. The Shell V-Power Pennzoil-Ultra car was very promising. Our second session was much improved and the guys did a good job. I'm very encouraged about our chances for tomorrow and in Sunday's race."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): "I think certainly the Go Daddy car saw an improvement from the first session to the second today which is what we are here to do. If we can improve a little each session, then when it matters we're going to be there. We'll just keep chipping away and hopefully get the No. 27 Chevy in the Firestone Fast Six by tomorrow afternoon. This track is fun, as you know, it's my first time here in an IndyCar and it feels a lot tighter in this car than it did in a Firestone Indy Lights car! The car has a decent amount of power and grip to hold onto the (green) track the way it does. Overall, it's cool to be here at the first event and I think everyone is excited that we're finally racing."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/ Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): "No doubt we could have had a smoother day, but we're still trying so many things with the car, the engine - the entire setup. It's all new, so you have to expect that on the opening day. We were much better in the second session (than the first), but we still have a lot of ground to make-up to be where we want to be for qualifying."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): "I'm pretty excited about qualifying because we didn't get the most out of any our runs today on new tires. Every time we went out with fresh tires, someone would spin or the caution would come out and we weren't able to get a clean, fast lap. Each of those laps would have easily been much quicker than what we ended up with."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Team Barracuda - BHA Lotus): "For our first day at the track here in St. Pete, it's obviously not what we wanted. We know that we're behind because of the engine situation - it's no secret anymore, but I think we left too many tenths on the table. We had some understeer on the car and tried to fix it. I think the team is doing a great job. We can't do any miracles but we're trying all kinds of things and at some point we're going to find what this car wants, and we'll improve it. If we can finish the weekend and get everything out of the car that we need, I think it will be mission accomplished. We have a great team and even with very little time on the track, nobody has given up. We're pushing really hard and trying to make up all the lost time from the winter season, which went from eight days to a day and a half, but we're going to catch up. We have good enough people that at some point, we'll find what the car needs to go quick."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "We found quite a good direction on the ABC Supply car towards the end of the last session so we definitely improved from this morning; we've just got to see what we've got tomorrow. All in all, everyone's working hard and we're getting there."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics - KV Racing Technology w/SH Chevrolet): "It was an interesting day. We tried a lot of new things to make the car better. It was a typical first race of the year, but with a new car, new engine and new team. It is the same name, but a lot of new people, so everybody is getting used to everything. At least for me, it was a positive day and we can use the good things that I did to help my teammates and then tomorrow we can put the three cars in the top-10.
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/Embrase - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet):"With the (mechanical) problem we had this morning, it was pretty much a setback. I spent the afternoon session learning the track, while everyone else was now improving their cars. I was playing catch up big time that's for sure. Hopefully tomorrow I can improve a little more from today."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO/PDVSA - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone): "The first day of practice in St. Petersburg is always nice and refreshing. I ran some laps in this beautiful place. The morning session went pretty well. Then in the afternoon we tried some things with the car that didn't work out the way we hoped, but at least we know what direction to go in for tomorrow."
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