INDIANAPOLIS – A move to July hasn’t slowed down Team Penske’s Will Power.
The Australian, one of two NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers to claim victory on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, set the fastest lap in the practice opening session Friday afternoon for Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix.
CLICK HERE:Practice 1 Results
Power, utilizing the alternate red tire, toured the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit in 1 minute, 9.4987 seconds in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Power, who has won the NTT P1 Award on IMS’s road course three times, was the only driver of the 26 entered in the race to record a lap under 1:10.
“We started the session pretty far off, but we were able to get the car right in the window,” Power said following the session which saw track temperatures in excess of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. “There’s a lot of things to think about before qualifying. Hopefully, I’ll have a shot at the pole.”
Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan’s Santino Ferrucci (1:10.1242) was second in the No. 18 MOUSER MOLEX Honda followed by Marcus Ericcson (1:10.1648) in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Pato O’Ward (1:10.1874) in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet and series points leader Scott Dixon (1:10.2054) in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
By virtue of his fast time, Power opted to choose Group 2 for the opening round of NTT P1 Award Qualifying (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and racecontrol.indycar.com). The combination of the 90-degree heat, plus rubber laid down from NASCAR Xfinity Series activity could make the three-round knockout qualifying session more challenging for all the NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams.
“That’s going to play a part, because the track really evolved (in practice),” Power said. “Because I was quickest, I get to pick the session, so hopefully they’ll be some rubber down for Group 2 and our setup will still be valid.”
Two red flag periods slowed the 90-minute practice session. The first was for contact between Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ferrucci in Turn 7 that left the Andretti Autosport driver stranded just off course. Sage Karam stopped in Turn 12 in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet to bring out the other red flag.