Ryan Briscoe opened the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway by going fastest in the first official practice session.Team Penske Briscoe took the honors half an hour into the 90-minute session with a 217.517mph lap that put him 0.0834mph clear of owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who had been the benchmark during the first 30 minutes. Briscoe's fast lap was some 1.7mph faster than the pace-setting lap during unofficial testing on Wednesday.
Carpenter's time was still good enough for him to remain second quickest, with Dario Franchitti, points leader Will Power, and Helio Castroneves rounding out the top five. Power's championship rival Ryan Hunter-Reay ended the morning with the 16th-fastest lap.
The session was interrupted three times by yellow flags, two for debris and a third caused by Justin Wilson getting out of shape and crashing his Dale Coyne Racing Dallara at the exit of Turn 2.
"I was on new tires," Wilson said. "I was starting my second lap. I'm not sure why it didn't stick.
"It's disappointing; it set our whole weekend back. We'll just have to work on trying to get the car ready for tomorrow now."
The session was the only opportunity for teams to fine-tune their setups ahead of qualifying later this afternoon.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Ryan Briscoe Penske Dallara-Chevy 33.1008s
2. Ed Carpenter Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 33.1842s + 0.0834s
3. Dario Franchitti Ganassi Dallara-Honda 33.2495s + 0.1487s
4. Will Power Penske Dallara-Chevy 33.2651s + 0.1643s
5. Helio Castroneves Penske Dallara-Chevy 33.2787s + 0.1779s
6. Scott Dixon Ganassi Dallara-Honda 33.3008s + 0.2000s
7. Tony Kanaan KV Dallara-Chevy 33.3484s + 0.2476s
8. Marco Andretti Andretti Dallara-Chevy 33.4625s + 0.3617s
9. JR Hildebrand Panther Dallara-Chevy 33.5291s + 0.4283s
10. Graham Rahal Ganassi Dallara-Honda 33.8624s + 0.7616s
11. Katherine Legge Dragon Dallara-Chevy 33.8930s + 0.7922s
12. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Dallara-Chevy 33.9226s + 0.8218s
13. Justin Wilson Coyne Dallara-Honda 33.9854s + 0.8846s
14. Rubens Barrichello KV Dallara-Chevy 33.9949s + 0.8941s
15. Charlie Kimball Ganassi Dallara-Honda 34.0648s + 0.9640s
16. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Dallara-Chevy 34.0790s + 0.9782s
17. Takuma Sato Rahal Dallara-Honda 34.1331s + 1.0323s
18. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Dallara-Honda 34.2560s + 1.1552s
19. EJ Viso KV Dallara-Chevy 34.2830s + 1.1822s
20. Sebastian Saavedra AFS/Andretti Dallara-Chevy 34.3579s + 1.2571s
21. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR Dallara-Chevy 34.3587s + 1.2579s
22. James Jakes Coyne Dallara-Honda 34.4343s + 1.3335s
23. Wade Cunningham Foyt Dallara-Honda 34.5841s + 1.4833s
24. Josef Newgarden Fisher Dallara-Chevy 34.9272s + 1.8264s
25. Alex Tagliani Herta Dallara-Honda 35.2897s + 2.1889s
26. Simona de Silvestro HVM Dallara-Lotus 36.7714s + 3.6706s