SONOMA, Calif. -- There's urgency to Helio Castroneves' gait at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. The three-time Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner trails Team penske teammate Will Power by 39 points in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship entering the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 24.
It's the penultimate race of the 18-event season. Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car, topped the time chart in the second 45-minute practice session with a lap of 1 minute, 18.6582 seconds on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course. Ryan Briscoe, driving the No. 8 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing car, slid into second (1:18.6920) on his final lap and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was quickest in the morning session, was third (1:18.7984) in the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport car.
Click it: Qualifying groups || Practice 2 results || Combined practice results
Reigning series champion Scott Dixon was fourth and Power was fifth.
The three rounds of qualifying for the 85-lap race are live on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. (ET). Dario Franchitti won the pole in 2013 with a lap of 1 minute, 17.5271 seconds (110.748 mph).
The qualifying format on road and street courses:
Segment 1: Cars shall participate in one of the two groups for 10 minutes per group inclusive of full-course yellow conditions, with six cars posting best lap times from each group advancing to Segment 2.
Cars not advancing to Segment 2 will fill positions 13 through the end of the starting field to be ranked in order of best lap time as follows: Group 1 shall occupy the odd-numbered positions beginning with 13 and Group 2 will occupy the even-numbered positions beginning with 14.
Segment 2: Consists of 10-minute, 12-car qualifying group inclusive of full-course yellow conditions, with all times from Segment 1 having been voided. Six cars posting best lap times advance to Segment 3 (Firestone Fast Six). Cars not advancing to Segment 3 will fill positions 7-12.
Segment 3 (Firestone Fast Six): Consists of one 10-minute, six-car qualifying group, of which five minutes is guaranteed green condition time. Determines the Verizon P1 Award winner and the first three rows.
Verizon P1 Award winners and race finish this season on road/street courses:
St. Petersburg – Takuma Sato, No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing; finished seventh
Long Beach – Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL/Andretti Autosport; finished 21st
Barber Motorsports Park – Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske; finished fifth
Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Sebastian Saavedra, No. 17 KV AFS Racing; finished 23rd
Dual 1 in Detroit – Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Team Penske; finished fifth
Dual 2 in Detroit – Takuma Sato, No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing; finished 18th
Houston Race 1 – Simon Pagenaud, No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton; finished 16th
Houston Race 2 – Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske; finished 21st
Toronto Race 1 – Sebastien Bourdais; No. 11 KVSH Racing; finished first
Toronto Race 2 – Helio Castroneves*; No. 3 Team Penske; finished 12th
Mid-Ohio – Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 KVSH Racing; finished second
*-based on entrant points
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