Will Power's IndyCar domination showed no sign of abating as he topped Friday practice at Barber Motorsports Park. The Verizon Team Penske driver had led the way in the morning, and as the second session approached its halfway point Power re-established himself at the head of the order, usurping Andretti Autosport's Tony Kanaan. Having hit the front, Power went quicker and quicker until he was half a second clear of the field. Although his rivals later closed in, no one was able to depose the championship leader.
"The Verizon Wireless car definitely felt better during the second practice session," Power said. "I think the fact that everyone was running around the track was better, because after the first practice session we were running on Grand-Am rubble and it wasn't real compatible.
"This was a good start to the weekend, but I am really aware that qualifying means everything around here. This track is very physical and demanding. To me it's really a driver's track, because there is a lot of commitment and technicality involved. The blind corners leading into fast entries require commitment if you want to be quick."
Kanaan eventually returned to second, ahead of Penske's Helio Castroneves and Ganassi's Scott Dixon, with Marco Andretti fifth for Andretti Autosport.
"I am very pleased. It feels good to be in the top five," Kanaan related. "Tomorrow is going to be very different. It will be a lot cooler and many things can change, but I will sleep well tonight. We just have to make the right changes for the morning."
Takuma Sato produced his most competitive performance since joining IndyCar by taking sixth place for KV Racing. Ryan Briscoe was seventh in the third Penske despite his car grinding to a halt on the approach to Turn 6 early on. He swiftly rejoined the session after being brought back to the pits. Hideki Mutoh (Newman/Haas/Lanigan), Mike Conway (Dreyer & Reinbold) and reigning champion Dario Franchitti (Ganassi) completed the top 10.
Formula Renault 3.5 champion Bertrand Baguette finished his first day as an IndyCar driver back in 24th place, but was just 1.5sec off Power's pace.
With Grand-Am's Rolex Series the main event on the Saturday schedule, the IndyCar field will go straight into qualifying at 9:20 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow morning.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske 1m11.1856s
2. Tony Kanaan Andretti 1m11.3011s + 0.1155s
3. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m11.3697s + 0.1841s
4. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m11.4243s + 0.2386s
5. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m11.5446s + 0.3589s
6. Takuma Sato KV 1m11.5818s + 0.3961s
7. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m11.6080s + 0.4224s
8. Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1m11.6658s + 0.4801s
9. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 1m11.7169s + 0.5313s
10. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m11.7740s + 0.5883s
11. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m11.8234s + 0.6378s
12. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m11.9248s + 0.7391s
13. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 1m12.1157s + 0.9300s
14. Alex Tagliani FAZZT 1m12.1312s + 0.9456s
15. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m12.1516s + 0.9659s
16. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon de Ferran 1m12.1585s + 0.9728s
17. Dan Wheldon Panther 1m12.3549s + 1.1692s
18. Graham Rahal Sarah Fisher 1m12.4356s + 1.2500s
19. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m12.4720s + 1.2864s
20. Mario Moraes KV 1m12.5084s + 1.3228s
21. EJ Viso KV 1m12.5425s + 1.3569s
22. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m12.6025s + 1.4168s
23. Mario Romancini Conquest 1m12.6651s + 1.4795s
24. Bertrand Baguette Conquest 1m12.7445s + 1.5588s
25. Milka Duno Dale Coyne 1m16.0652s + 4.8796s