Will Power was the only driver to dip into the 1:06 range during IndyCar's lone 90-minute practice session Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Always focused on finding more speed, Power wasn't satisfied even despite a lap nearly two tenths clear of Scott Dixon (ABOVE).
“It was an OK lap,” he said. “We ran good in the rest, we came out today pretty close to it. The track changes so much with all the different rubber. And it might rain later this weekend.”
Power was referencing the varying tire manufacturers all present this weekend. On the joint IndyCar/American Le Mans Series venture, Firestone is joined by the ALMS' quartet of Michelin, Dunlop, Falken and Yokohama.
Regardless, until Power's late 1:06.8632 flier, the top 23 had been covered by less than a second. After the flier, it was still the top 20 of 25 cars.
Dixon was second ahead of Marco Andretti, Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal.
Five more Honda runners completed the top 10 for the aptly named Honda Indy 200, with James Jakes, Josef Newgarden, Alex Tagliani, Dario Franchitti and Mike Conway next up. Power and Andretti represented the only Chevrolet runners within the top 10. Points leader Ryan Hunter-Reay was 16th, one spot ahead of Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe.
Although there was more than 20 minutes of red flags for on-course stoppages, including Alex Tagliani hitting the barriers at Turn 9 and Simona de Silvestro stopping on the track, but the latter was still encouraged by her first taste of the updated Lotus engine.
"We didn't test here when it was really grippy, so we're just taking it step by step," said the Swiss, who finished up 24th. "I think we've improved quite a bit. It was a good session."
Giorgio Pantano, substituting for the injured Charlie Kimball, clocked in 23rd at 1:08.0753, only ahead of Simona de Silvestro and Ed Carpenter on his first day in the series' new Dallara DW12.
"I have a good feeling about today," the open-wheel veteran said. "I think in tomorrow's practice I'll be able to put myself more in the front."
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m06.8632s
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m07.0213s + 0.1581s
3. Marco Andretti Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m07.0644s + 0.2012s
4. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Dallara-Honda 1m07.1063s + 0.2431s
5. Graham Rahal Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m07.1088s + 0.2456s
6. James Jakes Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m07.2401s + 0.3769s
7. Josef Newgarden Panther Dallara-Honda 1m07.3133s + 0.4501s
8. Alex Tagliani Herta Dallara-Honda 1m07.3463s + 0.4831s
9. Dario Franchitti Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m07.3574s + 0.4942s
10. Mike Conway Foyt Dallara-Honda 1m07.3899s + 0.5267s
11. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon Dallara-Chevy 1m07.4599s + 0.5967s
12. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR Dallara-Chevy 1m07.5207s + 0.6575s
13. JR Hildebrand Panther Dallara-Chevy 1m07.5361s + 0.6729s
14. Helio Castroneves Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m07.5518s + 0.6886s
15. Ryan Briscoe Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m07.5909s + 0.7277s
16. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m07.6638s + 0.8006s
17. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m07.6766s + 0.8134s
18. Justin Wilson Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m07.7670s + 0.9038s
19. Takuma Sato Rahal Dallara-Honda 1m07.7677s + 0.9045s
20. Rubens Barrichello KV Dallara-Chevy 1m07.8628s + 0.9996s
21. EJ Viso KV Dallara-Chevy 1m07.9241s + 1.0609s
22. Tony Kanaan KV Dallara-Chevy 1m07.9520s + 1.0888s
23. Giorgio Pantano Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m08.0753s + 1.2121s
24. Simona de Silvestro HVM Dallara-Lotus 1m08.4263s + 1.5631s
25. Ed Carpenter Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 1m08.9171s + 2.0539s
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES – Graham Rahal confirmed his free agency Friday after reports from both SPEED.com and the Indianapolis Star surfaced earlier this week. Speaking with IMS Radio, Rahal said he would be “pursuing all options to see where we're at.” An option to re-sign with Chip Ganassi Racing for a third season passed on Aug. 1.
Alex Tagliani is the weekend's first driver to earn a 10-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change by his Team Barracuda-BHA team. Tagliani has three successive Firestone Fast Six appearances although in Toronto, he also served a 10-spot grid penalty.
Dario Franchitti, running in a blue and purple GE Reveal livery this weekend, was part of an announcement by the flagship CGR team – Target Chip Ganassi Racing – that will see his likeness and that of teammate Dixon and NASCAR's Juan Pablo Montoya featured on some Kellogg's products.
The limited-edition items include Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies Treats and Vrooms cereal, which will all be sold for a limited time only at Target stores.
Through the Target Racing relationship, partner Kellogg's will activate their relationship away from the race track for the first time with driver imagery on packaging that will include driver images, tidbits, fun facts and games – all tying into an on-pack sweepstakes where one lucky fan will win the “Ultimate Racing Experience” prize package and attend a NASCAR or IndyCar race in 2013.
Besides the trio that was mentioned in this weekend's preview of running different liveries (Franchitti, Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe), JR Hildebrand and Josef Newgarden also have slightly different liveries. Hildebrand reprises the National Guard pink camouflage livery he ran at Kentucky and Las Vegas last year, while Newgarden's regularly blank sidepods now have “Go USA” on the side of his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car.
With only the one practice session Friday, IndyCar has one more hour-long session Saturday morning (8 a.m. Eastern) before qualifying at 11 a.m. Eastern.