|Will Power on his way to fast time on Thursday|
KV Racing Technology teammates Will Power and Oriol Servia ran 1-2 in practice Thursday for Saturday's Rexall Edmonton IndyCar race. Power's lap of 1m02.3404s in his Aussie Vineyards sponsored car was just barely faster than his teammate who ran an almost identical 1m02.3900s time.
Team Penske's Helio Castroneves was quickest in the opening practice at 1:02.9327, and improved by four-tenths of a second in the afternoon but still fell to third overall, with teammate Ryan Briscoe fourth. Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Justin Wilson, who won the Champ Car race here in 2006, rounded out the top five.
Power, 27, who captured the pole here last year and has a best finish of sixth in his Edmonton debut in 2006, was third on the speed charts following the first practice with a fast lap of 63.2103 seconds (112.368 mph). Servia, 34, who has qualified in the top-five twice in three previous appearances in Edmonton with a best starting spot of fourth in 2005, and who has finished in the top-six in all three events with a best showing of second also in 2005, had the fourth fastest time in the first practice with a time of 63.2478 seconds (112.301 mph).
During the second practice Power posted his fastest time on the 21st of the 27 laps he ran. Remarkably, Servia also recorded his quick time on the 21st of 26 laps he turned.
â€śIt was obviously a day to get used to the setup of (an IndyCar Series car),â€ť said Power.
â€śItâ€™s much different than a Champ Car. The teamâ€™s done a great job and we arrived here with a reasonable setup. We definitely improved it after the first session. I think weâ€™re in a much better position than we were last week at this time.
â€śIt would be nice if we could repeat this in qualifying with another 1-2. Weâ€™re looking for a solid result to get some solid points, since we canâ€™t perform this well on the ovals.
â€śIt was dusty this morning, but as the weekend goes on, the track does grip up. Itâ€™s dusty off-line, but for qualifying, I think it will be rubbered up.
â€śThe track is a little slippery. Itâ€™s a combination of guys learning the circuit, going off and bringing some dirt onto the track and having a harder compound tire compared to last year, which makes it a little more slippery.
â€śI am really happy with the way the Aussie Vineyards â€“ Team Australia car handled today.
â€śIt was very difficult to get a lap. There was a lot of traffic and a lot of caution flags. A lot of people were going off, which I think is because there are no consequences or wall to run into.
Briscoe found the rough Edmonton track a bit daunting.
"It's completely different from anything I've ever experienced," he said. "The Team Penske car seems to be running very well right now. We're just trying to find the gear ratios and do a bit of setup work. We're definitely off to a good start here. It's a pretty rough track, but it's still very low grip. I think as it gets more rubber, it will get more physical."
Paul Tracy had a satisfying day on the demanding Edmonton City Centre Airport circuit. Tracy, competing in an IndyCar Series car for the first time since the 2002 Indianapolis 500, surprised many by running eye-popping competitive times, well ahead of his Vision Racing teammates on his very first day in the car. He was seventh in the first session (1 minute, 03.3745 seconds; 112.0877 mph best lap) - less than a half-second off Helio Castroneves - and eighth (1:02.6933; 113.294) in the second.
|Paul Tracy in the Subway car|
"We all want to do well, our expectations are to do well, but I haven't set any type of goal on myself that we have to win the race," said Tracy, who last competed on the Long Beach street circuit in April in the Champ Car finale. "We're just going to take it step by step every day. From my standpoint, this is my opportunity to get back in the (IndyCar) series."
Tracy certainly made a statement with regard to his Vision teammates, AJ Foyt IV and Ed Carpenter, beating them by over 1-second per lap with no prior time in the car.
Another driver looking very bad on Thursday was Danica Patrick. Mid-Ohio and Edmonton are driver's tracks and she ran horrible last weekend in Mid-Ohio and so far she is running horrible in Edmonton.
The Rexall Edmonton Indy will continue tomorrow with practice session, which will be split into two groups, beginning at 10:30 a.m. followed by qualifying at 3:15 p.m. The Rexall Edmonton Indy is Round 13 of the 2008 IndyCar Series season. The race will be televised live on ESPN at 5:00 p.m. ET.
WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia, fastest): â€śIt was obviously a day to get used to the setup of (an IndyCar Series car). Itâ€™s much different than a Champ Car. The teamâ€™s done a great job and we arrived here with a reasonable setup. We definitely improved it after the first session. I think weâ€™re in a much better position than we were last week at this time. It would be nice if we could repeat this in qualifying with another 1-2. Weâ€™re looking for a solid result to get some solid points, since we canâ€™t perform this well on the ovals.â€ť (About track conditions): â€śIt was dusty this morning, but as the weekend goes on, the track does grip up. Itâ€™s dusty off-line, but for qualifying, I think it will be rubbered up.â€ť (Is it slicker than last year): â€śItâ€™s a combination of guys learning the circuit and having a harder compound tire, which makes it a little more slippery.â€ť
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, second): â€śWeâ€™re really happy. At Mid-Ohio, we expected to be competitive, and after the first day we were 19th and 20th. The team did a great job for Saturday and we picked up the pace, and on Sunday we were up there with the best. Coming here to a place that we know, it feels good to be top of the timesheets, but we need to keep pushing. The other guys are only on their first day here, and theyâ€™re big teams with very good drivers. Iâ€™m pretty sure theyâ€™re going to be pushing pretty hard tomorrow.â€ť
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, third): â€śI think the track here in Edmonton is great, and it's proven to be very challenging as well. We used the practice sessions to familiarize ourselves with the course and just find the lines out there. Our main goal today was to find out what the Team Penske car can do on this circuit. Now that we know, we'll use tomorrow to see how much we can push that limit. Overall, I think we had a good day, and I'm looking forward to getting back out there. I think it's great to be racing here in Canada; it's only the first day of the weekend and the place was packed. The fans seem to be having a great time, and that is a lot of fun to see.â€ť
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, fourth): â€śThings are looking good for the No. 6 car here in Edmonton. It's my first time here as well as Team Penske's, so we really used today to concentrate on dialing in the car, getting the gear ratios right and general setup work. The track started out a bit dirty in the first session, but it's steadily improving. It's an exciting circuit to say the least - it's bumpy with a lot of fast corners. It's pretty technical, and there's not a lot of room for error, which is why we saw so many guys get in the tire barriers today. I think we had a good start here, and hopefully we can keep it going tomorrow.â€ť
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonaldâ€™s Racing Team, fifth): â€śI think the McDonaldâ€™s team is reasonably OK in terms of setup. Itâ€™s difficult to know when other people ran old tires vs. new ones. We know when we have and havenâ€™t, and we feel like we are reasonably competitive, but I would like to feel a bit more confidence from the car. Itâ€™s not where I think we can be. We have a little work to do, but weâ€™re on old tires running fifth, so Iâ€™m reasonably happy with it. This car bounces around a lot more than the Champ Car did, and there doesnâ€™t seem to be as much grip on the track, so itâ€™s very difficult to drive. I think everyone is seeing that based on how many cars are spinning off. Itâ€™s making life tough, but weâ€™re going to have to try to make the most of it. I think the race is going to be interesting.â€ť
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, sixth): â€śWe had a lot of problems in the first session with front grip in the car, and we thought we had an idea how to get that fixed for session number two. The overall balance of the car is still off though, and weâ€™re going back to discuss how to get the car where it needs to be. We were better off in the second session, but there is still work that needs to be done.â€ť
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, seventh): â€śIt was not a very good day today. Weâ€™re still trying to improve the balance of the Team 7-Eleven/Frankâ€™s Energy Drink car. We were able to find some speed, but we have to improve the balance of the car.â€ť
PAUL TRACY (No. 22 Subway/Vision, eighth): â€śIt went as well as you could hope for. We hoped to come in and have the car run all day, and we did that. The crew did a great job. They had a very small amount of time to get the car ready, only a couple of weeks. Derrick (Walker) and his group did a great job. Tony (George) giving us this car to use, but going from an oval setup to a road course setup, so it was missing a lot of the bits. Weâ€™re pleasantly satisfied with how it went. I havenâ€™t driven since Long Beach, and I havenâ€™t driven much at all â€“ Iâ€™ve had one test day â€“ since Surfers (Paradise) last year. Hopefully, things will come back a little easier tomorrow and we can work on the race setup. Itâ€™s going to be a tough one. Itâ€™s a tough race, and these guys have been driving all year.â€ť
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 06 Rexall-Oilers, ninth): â€śThe start of the day was all right, but I think we were a little too far off in terms of setup. We were close enough though that we decided to make this afternoonâ€™s session a little bit of a test session. We went out on a limb and tried some things, and now we are a heck of a lot closer than we were at the start of the day. Weâ€™re pretty happy with that, but of course we still need to find a little more speed. Weâ€™re competitive at least. Weâ€™re right there with the top guys. We still need to work on some stability issues, but we have tonight to think about it. Then weâ€™ll try to shoot for pole tomorrow or at least try to make it through all the rounds, because I canâ€™t seem to make it through to the second round this year even if we are quick. This is such a different car than we are used to here. We showed up, and the car was bottoming like crazy. It was like getting punched in the face 10 times a lap, and it hurts. We made some improvement. To be fast here, quite frankly you have to be aggressive. The bumps are obviously the most important part of this because it is such a bumpy circuit. We made a lot of improvements, but there is still a ways to go.â€ť
Combined Practice Results
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||Foyt IV, AJ