Despite a near miss with Team Penske teammate Will Power and having an incident at Turn 1 that brought out a red flag, Helio Castroneves displaced the Honda runners as fastest driver on the day in IndyCar's second practice session in Edmonton.
Castroneves led Scott Dixon, both in the 1:16.4 range, with Mike Conway a late charger to third. James Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani completed the top five.
Championship contenders Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power were close again, this time eighth and ninth. Hunter-Reay missed the second half of the morning's opening session, held for “unsportsmanlike conduct” after Hunter-Reay was deemed to have forced James Jakes' Dale Coyne Racing entry off track at Turn 12 in practice.
Morning session leader Simon Pagenaud was just 12th. The other stoppages besides Castroneves were triggered by Justin Wilson and Charlie Kimball, both of whom spun, and Conway, whose car stopped in the pit entry with 15 minutes of the session remaining.
The top 23 were separated by less than one second; only Simona de Silvestro, who had an oil leak that interrupted her first session in the lone Lotus powerplant in the field, and Ed Carpenter were outside that margin.
SERVIA'S NEW LIVERY, OTHER NOTES – The latest sponsor to adorn the sidepods of Panther DRR's entry for Oriol Servia is Hurco. The usual black livery now has white wing endplates for the first time this year, this race. Servia and Panther-affiliated teammate JR Hildebrand struggled on Friday, only in the 20s time-wise.
All 25 drivers recorded a lap better than the 2011 pole time of 1:18.5165 set by Takuma Sato. Carpenter, slowest at 1:17.9263, still had a full six tenths advantage on the 2011 pole mark.
Rain is anticipated at least in part for Saturday's running of the third practice and qualifying later in the afternoon, scheduled at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.
Video of the session highlights produced by IndyCar are below.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Helio Castroneves Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m16.4920s
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m16.4947s + 0.0027s
3. Mike Conway Foyt Dallara-Honda 1m16.5122s + 0.0202s
4. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m16.5740s + 0.0820s
5. Alex Tagliani Herta Dallara-Honda 1m16.6505s + 0.1585s
6. Dario Franchitti Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m16.6875s + 0.1955s
7. Justin Wilson Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m16.6985s + 0.2065s
8. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m16.7067s + 0.2147s
9. Will Power Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m16.7168s + 0.2248s
10. Rubens Barrichello KV Dallara-Chevy 1m16.8078s + 0.3158s
11. Josef Newgarden Fisher Dallara-Honda 1m16.8225s + 0.3305s
12. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Dallara-Honda 1m16.8350s + 0.3430s
13. Graham Rahal Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m16.8482s + 0.3562s
14. Marco Andretti Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m16.8999s + 0.4079s
15. Tony Kanaan KV Dallara-Chevy 1m16.9230s + 0.4310s
16. Ryan Briscoe Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m16.9331s + 0.4411s
17. EJ Viso KV Dallara-Chevy 1m16.9715s + 0.4795s
18. Takuma Sato Rahal Dallara-Honda 1m16.9741s + 0.4821s
19. James Jakes Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m17.2266s + 0.7346s
20. Charlie Kimball Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m17.2478s + 0.7558s
21. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon Dallara-Chevy 1m17.2593s + 0.7673s
22. JR Hildebrand Panther Dallara-Chevy 1m17.3555s + 0.8635s
23. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR Dallara-Chevy 1m17.4791s + 0.9871s
24. Simona de Silvestro HVM Dallara-Lotus 1m17.8749s + 1.3829s
25. Ed Carpenter Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 1m17.9263s + 1.4343s