Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power were 1-2-3 on the time chart after the first day of practice for the Rexall Edmonton Indy.
Castroneves posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 1.5467 seconds (115.405 mph) on his 13th – and final – lap of the afternoon session. Briscoe, the polesitter in the inaugural IndyCar Series race last year on the 1.9773-mile, 14-turn Edmonton City Centre Airport circuit, had posted the quickest lap of the day (1:01.9820; 114.595) six minutes earlier.
"This place is amazing and you learn something every time you go out on the track," said Castroneves, who is coming off a disappointing finish at Toronto that dropped him to 78 points out of the championship chase. "It's a great start for Team Penske. It shows what we can do as a three-car team with Will (Power), and it shows that it helps everybody. It's not over, though. It's just Friday. We need to keep it up for qualifying and the race.
"It's great to have a healthy competition inside the team. We're working on keeping it inside the team for the weekend."
Power, driving the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental car for Penske Racing, was third overall (1:02.0853) and defending race winner Scott Dixon was fourth (1:02.3164). Rookies Raphael Matos (1:02.3383) was fifth in the No. 2 US Marines Luczo Dragon Racing car and Mike Conway was sixth (1:02.4343) in the No. 24 Charter Media/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car.
"After we led the morning practice (1:02.2840), I had a few excursions into the grass in the afternoon, damaged one front wing, but managed to get a fairly quick lap right at the end," said Power, who finished third at Toronto. "It was good enough for third behind my two Penske Racing teammates.
"I wasn't satisfied with the third position, but we'll think things over tonight and be ready tomorrow when it counts in qualifying."
Three rounds of qualifications, featuring the Firestone Fast Six shootout to set the first three rows, will begin at 5:15 p.m. (EDT) July 25. Watch it live on indycar.com or VERSUS.
Completing the top 10 were Graham Rahal (1:02.4916) in the No. 02 McDonald's car for Newman/has/Lanigan Racing, Mario Moraes (1:02.7299) in the No. 5 1800 Tequila/Votorantim/KV Racing Technology car, Justin Wilson (1:02.8213) in the No. 18 Z-Line Designs car for Dale Coyne Racing and Paul Tracy (1:02.8293) in the No. 15 Edmonton Honda Dealers/WoundedWarriors.ca car for KV Racing Technology.
Early in the afternoon session – when the ambient temp was 88 degrees (F) and the track 112 degrees – Dan Wheldon's No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car spun exiting Turn 3 and made front-end contact with the concrete barrier in Turn 4. The incident collected the No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola car driven by Danica Patrick. Both drivers were uninjured.
"It was driver error," Wheldon said. "I hit a curb, which sent me to the other side of the track and a wheel went onto the grass and I ended up spearing it into the wall. It's unfortunate for the National Guard Panther Racing team. Our guys will build the car back up and we'll be back out there tomorrow."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, fastest of the day): "This place is amazing and you learn something every time you go out on the track. It's a great start for Team Penske. It shows what we can do as a three-car team with Will (Power), and it shows that it helps everybody. It's not over, though. It's just Friday. We need to keep it up for qualifying and the race. It's great to have a healthy competition inside the team. We're working on keeping it inside the team for the weekend."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, second fastest of the day): "It's awesome. The cars have come out of the truck feeling good. It's just one of those weekends where we feel like we need to take care of the tires. We need to save them for the race. That's why we stopped early today. But it's a good start for Team Penske and with Will (Power) looking strong as well, it's a great start to the race weekend."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Penske Truck Rental, third fastest of the day): "We had a mixed day in the Penske Truck Rental car. After we led the morning practice, I had a few excursions into the grass in the afternoon, damaged one front wing, but managed to get a fairly quick lap right at the end. It was good enough for third behind my two Penske Racing teammates. I wasn't satisfied with the third position, but we'll think things over tonight and be ready tomorrow when it counts in qualifying."
DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing): (About accident): "It was driver error. I hit a curb which sent me to the other side of the track and a wheel went onto the grass and I ended up spearing it into the wall. It's unfortunate for the National Guard Panther Racing team. Our guys will build the car back up and we'll be back out there tomorrow. We thought we'd made some headway from the first session; we looked at the data and thought we knew where we needed to improve and felt pretty confident in that. But that was just my mistake and unfortunately I took Danica with me, which is a shame for her and the entire Andretti Green Racing team. We'll regroup and come out tomorrow strong."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team): "The McDonald's car certainly seemed to get better at the end of the day. At the start we were struggling pretty bad, and I felt like we needed a big change to really improve it. At the end, I think we started to figure it out but there is a little bit of room to go obviously. The Penskes are very fast. On our last set of tires, on the second run, were pretty old and they had a couple of big lockups on them already but we were up almost three-tenths on the last lap, and I gave it away because I couldn't keep it through Turn 7 because I had a lot of understeer. I'm just happy that we were more competitive by the end of the day. It was a big step forward and certainly there is more to do but I am definitely much happier."
ROBERT DOORNBOS (No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing): "It's good to be back in Edmonton and see all of the Canadian fans in the stands, cheering us on for a practice day. We worked hard today in the morning session. It was quite obvious that this afternoon our two team cars went in different directions set-up wise and the 02 McDonald's car performed a bit better, so we're hoping we can find some more out of it for tomorrow because at the moment we aren't that competitive but we should be better tomorrow."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola): "I was really looking forward to the second practice session today. We made some changes to the car after this morning's practice, but then got caught up in Dan's (Wheldon) incident which cut the afternoon's session short. I think we will be back on track tomorrow but I really wanted to see if the changes we made were going to be the answer for having an ideal car for tomorrow's qualifying run."
PAUL TRACY (No. 15 Edmonton Honda Dealers-woundedwarrior.ca): "The Edmonton Honda Dealers-Wounded Warriors.ca car had a pretty good day. We didn't end up where I think the car is capable of being, but we were in the top five for the first session and most of the second. We made a few changes in the second half of the second practice, which didn't work out, but by then it was too late to reverse them. Tonight we will get the car back to the how it was, and then I think we have a car capable of qualifying in the top-five."
|5.||Raphael Matos||Luczo Dragon||1m02.3383s||+0.7916s|
|6.||Mike Conway||Dreyer & Reinbold||1m02.4343s||+0.8876s|
|8.||Mario Moraes||KV Racing||1m02.7299s||+1.1832s|
|9.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing||1m02.8213s||+1.2746s|
|10.||Paul Tracy||KV Racing||1m02.8293s||+1.2826s|
|11.||Tony Kanaan||Andretti Green||1m03.0904s||+1.5437s|
|14.||Hideki Mutoh||Andretti Green||1m03.1516s||+1.6049s|
|15.||Tomas Scheckter||Dreyer & Reinbold||1m03.4343s||+1.8876s|
|16.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Green||1m04.0932s||+2.5465s|
|23.||Danica Patrick||Andretti Green||