Will Power was fastest in Friday afternoon's practice session for the IZOD IndyCar Series' return to Milwaukee this weekend.
Fresh from his first ever oval victory at Texas a week ago, Penske driver Power set a best time of 21.7957sec to lead fellow Texas winner and title rival Dario Franchitti (Ganassi) by 0.0242sec.
Their respective teammates Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon were next up, with Newman/Haas' Oriol Servia the best of the rest in fifth. The third Penske entry of Ryan Briscoe was back in 18th as the Australian struggled to find the ideal setup.
Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) completed the top six ahead of Graham Rahal in another Ganassi car.
"We just did a full-tank run at the end of practice to see what the car was like over a stint and we made no changes. The car feels really good," said Power, who added that he finds Milwaukee an especially fun oval. "This is the oval that I've been to the most, and it's a very fun place to drive. It can be a hard place to pass in the race, but if you have a good car it's a great place."
The opening 45 minutes of the two-hour session were reserved for drivers outside the top 10 in the championship, and this segment saw Justin Wilson and Ana Beatriz in a Dreyer & Reinbold 1-2. They ended up eighth and 10th after the full-field session, split by KV's EJ Viso.
The afternoon included two crashes, with Indianapolis and Texas poleman Alex Tagliani suspecting a problem with his left rear of his Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara caused his incident. He was able to rejoin after repairs, but Foyt driver Vitor Meira will switch to a back-up car for the rest of the weekend after he crashed at Turn 4.
The weekend offers a unique look at the depth of U.S. open-wheel oval racing, with no fewer than six different series competing at the Milwaukee Mile. Dixon and Tony Kanaan said the they found watching the USAC series and IndyCar ladder series events interesting.
"We stay at the racetrack, so it's nice to see a bunch of different cars and the drivers coming up," said Kanaan. "I think it's great not just for us but also for the fans, so they can come watch everybody race this weekend."
Added Dixon, "From a category that starts out with kids all the way up to IndyCars is a great weekend for all. And being the Father's Day weekend, it's cool for fathers and their kids to spend some time together at the track and see different kinds of racing. Some tracks that we go to, apart from our race there's not much going on so it's nice to have a lot going on and different kinds of fomulaes you can see."
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske 21.7957s
2. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 21.8199s + 0.0242s
3. Helio Castroneves Penske 21.8321s + 0.0364s
4. Scott Dixon Ganassi 21.8499s + 0.0542s
5. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas 21.8774s + 0.0817s
6. Marco Andretti Andretti 21.9560s + 0.1603s
7. Graham Rahal Ganassi 22.0091s + 0.2134s
8. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 22.0957s + 0.3000s
9. EJ Viso KV 22.1191s + 0.3234s
10. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold 22.1641s + 0.3684s
11. Mike Conway Andretti 22.1741s + 0.3784s
12. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 22.1791s + 0.3834s
13. Danica Patrick Andretti 22.1918s + 0.3961s
14. Tony Kanaan KV 22.1942s + 0.3985s
15. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 22.2511s + 0.4554s
16. Takuma Sato KV 22.2945s + 0.4988s
17. Charlie Kimball Ganassi 22.3128s + 0.5171s
18. Ryan Briscoe Penske 22.3330s + 0.5373s
19. James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas 22.4156s + 0.6199s
20. JR Hildebrand Panther 22.4248s + 0.6291s
21. Simona de Silvestro HVM 22.4750s + 0.6793s
22. Vitor Meira Foyt 22.5122s + 0.7165s
23. Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt 22.9480s + 1.1523s
24. Ed Carpenter Sarah Fisher 23.0498s + 1.2541s
25. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 23.1752s + 1.3795s
26. James Jakes Dale Coyne 23.2680s + 1.4723s