Will Power stayed on top in second practice for St. Petersburg's IZOD IndyCar Series race, producing a blistering 1m02.3200s lap that put him 0.7sec clear of his rivals.
The Team Penske driver, who had led the way this morning too, went quickest again early on, before Scott Dixon (Ganassi), Tony Kanaan (Andretti Autosport) and Justin Wilson (Dreyer & Reinbold) all took a turn at the head of the order. But then in the final 10 minutes, Power reclaimed the top spot and moved comfortably clear of the pack. The 0.7sec margin that split Power from second placed Dixon was the same spread that covered the next 14 cars.
"It was a good day. We are getting the car better each session," noted Power. "After this run, the car is more like what I like to drive. It feels good. There is a long weekend ahead of us, with weather and everything. But I am feeling good going into tomorrow."
Wilson and Kanaan were next up, with the latter's teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay completing the top five. KV's EJ Viso and Takuma Sato took sixth and seventh, despite the former ending his session in the Turn 10 run-off. Sato had earlier been as high as second.
Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) and Helio Castroneves (Penske) were eighth and ninth, with Castroneves another man exploring run-off areas, while Graham Rahal (left) continued to show very promising form for temporary team Sarah Fisher Racing in 10th.
"I think we made some ground up that last session and made the car a little bit better," Rahal said. "We've still got a bit of work to do to make it more secure for me and to find some speed for the rest of the weekend, but I feel like we're headed in the right general direction. Now we've just got to hone in on what's going to make the car better and faster and keep the tires alive at the same time. We had one really good run on old tires and we went pretty darn quick, so that was good. But there's still a lot of work to be done."
By contrast it was a bad afternoon for reigning champion Dario Franchitti, who crashed into the tires at Turn 4 just after the halfway point.
Also causing stoppages were Dale Coyne Racing's Milka Duno (stopping on course at Turn 8) and KV's third driver Mario Moraes, who spun out of the final chicane on his first lap.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske 1m02.3200s
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m03.0299s + 0.7099s
3. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m03.0576s + 0.7376s
4. Tony Kanaan Andretti 1m03.0615s + 0.7415s
5. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m03.0763s + 0.7563s
6. EJ Viso KV 1m03.0890s + 0.7690s
7. Takuma Sato KV 1m03.0930s + 0.7730s
8. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m03.2866s + 0.9666s
9. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m03.2884s + 0.9684s
10. Graham Rahal Sarah Fisher 1m03.3220s + 1.0020s
11. Alex Tagliani Fazzt 1m03.3687s + 1.0487s
12. Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1m03.4320s + 1.1120s
13. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m03.5043s + 1.1843s
14. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 1m03.5329s + 1.2129s
15. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 1m03.5431s + 1.2231s
16. Dan Wheldon Panther 1m03.6383s + 1.3183s
17. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m03.7857s + 1.4657s
18. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m03.7870s + 1.4670s
19. Raphael Matos de Ferran/Luczo Dragon 1m03.7882s + 1.4682s
20. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m03.8672s + 1.5472s
21. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m03.8864s + 1.5664s
22. Mario Romancini Conquest 1m04.4134s + 2.0934s
23. Milka Duno Dale Coyne 1m08.9920s + 6.6720s
24. Mario Moraes KV 1m09.7015s + 7.3815s