LONG POND, Pa. – Verizon IndyCar Series championship front-runner Will Power topped the speed chart in the second 60-minute practice session for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco with a blistering lap of 223.348 mph on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
It was an unofficial track record by Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. Marco Andretti holds the track record of 221.273 mph (average of two consecutive laps) in qualifications last July. The NASCAR Cup Series record is 181.415 mph by Denny Hamlin on June 6.
Four different teams were represented in the top five, and two rookies were among the top 10. Carlos Munoz was second fast (223.007 mph; 49.646 seconds). Tony Kanaan, fastest in the morning session, was third (222.528), followed by Graham Rahal (222.317) and Helio Castroneves (222.297).
Click it: Practice 2 results || Combined practice results || Qualifying order
Power headed into the race weekend with a 39-point lead over Castroneves, his Team Penske teammate. The middle race of the Triple Crown series offers double points.
Single-car qualifications scheduled for 5 p.m. Real-time Timing & Scoring, complemented by the IMS Radio Network broadcasts, are on IndyCar.com. NBCSN will televise qualifications at 7 p.m. (ET) today and the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco race telecast begins at noon (ET) July 6.
“You have to focus on the actual weekend. It can be a big swing one way or the other,” Power said of the championship chase entering Round 11 of 18. “You have to focus on your job and do everything you can to have a good day.”
A steady breeze of 14 mph, with gusts to 22 mph out of the northwest, impacted the cars in both sessions.
“It makes it a little tough to set up, especially when you are going from one corner to another, even though it is an oval,” Castroneves said. “When it’s a constant wind, it’s not a problem. When it’s a gust of wind, that’s when it’s a problem. On one lap, the car is one way and the next one is, ‘Whoa, what happened?’ The inconsistency is what makes it difficult for us.”
First-year Verizon IndyCar Series driver Jack Hawksworth was examined at the infield care center and released after the No. 98 Integrity Energee Drink entry for BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian spun and made rear contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 with 30 minutes left in the session. Hawksworth had a best lap of 218.998 mph (16th of 19 total laps).
“We’d been understeering in Turn 1 during the whole session and there’s a tailwind going into there so we’d been pushing a lot," he said. "We just put tires on and went into (Turn) 1 and picked up a big oversteer instead of the understeer and it took us out. If I thought I was going to stick it into the wall, I would have thought it would be on Turn 3 but it was Turn 1.”
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