IndyCar points leader Will Power picked up where he left off in testing by going fastest in the opening practice session for the championship's first race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
Power, who won both the opening rounds of the season in Sao Paulo and St. Petersburg and was also quickest in winter testing at Barber, led the way with a lap of 1m11.7886sec, approaching the final quarter of the session. His Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe moved up to second shortly afterward, with early pacesetter Justin Wilson ending up third for Dreyer & Reinbold.
Ganassi's Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon took fourth and sixth, split by Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport). Hideki Mutoh (Newman/Haas/Lanigan) was a frontrunner throughout and was ultimately seventh in the standings, followed by Penske's Helio Castroneves, Andretti's Tony Kanaan and KV's Takuma Sato.
The session was stopped twice, first to retrieve Mario Romancini (Conquest) from the Turn 2 gravel and Castroneves from the Turn 8 run-off, and then when KV's EJ Viso went off at Turn 14 a minute from the end, prompting a slightly early checkered flag.
Practice one also marked Formula Renault 3.5 champion Bertrand Baguette's first official session as an IndyCar driver in Conquest's newly added second entry. He played himself in with 23rd place, 2.2sec off the pace.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske 1m11.7886s
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m12.0899s + 0.3013s
3. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m12.1043s + 0.3158s
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m12.1508s + 0.3622s
5. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m12.2866s + 0.4980s
6. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m12.3061s + 0.5175s
7. Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1m12.4637s + 0.6751s
8. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m12.5398s + 0.7512s
9. Tony Kanaan Andretti 1m12.7481s + 0.9596s
10. Takuma Sato KV 1m12.7660s + 0.9774s
11. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 1m12.7779s + 0.9893s
12. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 1m12.8887s + 1.1001s
13. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m13.0896s + 1.3011s
14. Mario Romancini Conquest 1m13.1358s + 1.3472s
15. EJ Viso KV 1m13.1389s + 1.3503s
16. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m13.1757s + 1.3872s
17. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon de Ferran 1m13.2338s + 1.4452s
18. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m13.2830s + 1.4944s
19. Dan Wheldon Panther 1m13.5407s + 1.7521s
20. Graham Rahal Sarah Fisher 1m13.7309s + 1.9423s
21. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m13.7554s + 1.9669s
22. Alex Tagliani Fazzt 1m13.9016s + 2.1130s
23. Bertrand Baguette Conquest 1m14.0456s + 2.2571s
24. Mario Moraes KV 1m14.0532s + 2.2646s
25. Milka Duno Dale Coyne 1m16.3448s + 4.5563s