IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader Will Power got his title-deciding weekend off to a fine start by topping the opening practice session at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Penske driver is 12 points clear of rival Dario Franchitti heading into tomorrow night's final round. Power was third in practice going into the final minutes, but blasted to first place with a 25.0824sec lap just after running resumed following a late yellow for a track inspection.
Franchitti played it cool during the session, sitting out the first half hour and only completing 22 laps, compared to Power's 46, as he took fourth for Ganassi. The championship contenders were split by Ganassi's Scott Dixon (who had been fastest until Power's late lap) and Penske's Ryan Briscoe, with Helio Castroneves fifth in the other Penske Dallara.
Dan Wheldon was best of the rest in sixth for Panther, ahead of Andretti Autosport's lead driver Marco Andretti, FAZZT's Alex Tagliani, Foyt's Vitor Meira, and Andretti's teammate Tony Kanaan.
Ana Beatriz took 17th on her return to Dreyer & Reinbold, while Sebastian Saavedra started his first weekend at Conquest with 25th place.
This morning's hour was the only practice session prior to qualifying, although 11 drivers, including the title rivals, tested at the track earlier in the week.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske 25.0824s
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi 25.0966s + 0.0142s
3. Ryan Briscoe Penske 25.1060s + 0.0236s
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 25.1237s + 0.0413s
5. Helio Castroneves Penske 25.2491s + 0.1667s
6. Dan Wheldon Panther 25.2632s + 0.1808s
7. Marco Andretti Andretti 25.2675s + 0.1851s
8. Alex Tagliani FAZZT 25.2989s + 0.2165s
9. Vitor Meira Foyt 25.3105s + 0.2281s
10. Tony Kanaan Andretti 25.3367s + 0.2543s
11. Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas 25.3681s + 0.2857s
12. Ed Carpenter Panther/Vision 25.3764s + 0.2940s
13. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas 25.3779s + 0.2955s
14. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 25.3829s + 0.3005s
15. Takuma Sato KV 25.3904s + 0.3080s
16. Danica Patrick Andretti 25.3928s + 0.3104s
17. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold 25.4316s + 0.3492s
18. Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher 25.4753s + 0.3929s
19. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 25.4794s + 0.3970s
20. EJ Viso KV 25.4879s + 0.4055s
21. Simona de Silvestro HVM 25.5292s + 0.4468s
22. Raphael Matos De Ferran Dragon 25.5371s + 0.4547s
23. Bertrand Baguette Conquest 25.5376s + 0.4552s
24. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 25.5589s + 0.4765s
25. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 25.5771s + 0.4947s
26. Mario Moraes KV 25.6567s + 0.5743s
27. Milka Duno Dale Coyne 25.6595s + 0.5771s