Fontana IndyCar: Will Power leads Helio Castroneves in practice
|By Mark Glendenning||Friday, August 29th 2014, 19:01 GMT|
Championship rivals Will Power and Helio Castroneves opened this weekend's IndyCar season-finale with a Team Penske 1-2 in opening practice at Fontana.
The pair shot to the top right at the beginning of the session, with Power unloading a 221.389mph in a qualifying simulation run on just his second lap, and Castroneves following suit a few moments later at 221.354mph.
With the field having got a head-start on its race preparation work during the open test on Wednesday evening, neither driver completed more than nine laps during the morning.
It was a busier session for everyone else, with Ed Carpenter covering 31 laps on his way to going third-fastest, although his speed of 219.413mph was almost two miles per hour slower than the lead Penske drivers.
Ganassi's Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball were next across the line to complete a Chevrolet-powered top six, with Schmidt Peterson rookie Mikhail Aleshin fastest of the Honda-engined drivers in seventh.
Power's appearance on track technically eliminated Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon from championship contention as simply participating in an event guarantees a minimum points scores under IndyCar rules.
That leaves Simon Pagenaud as the sole remaining contender who can stop a Penske driver from winning the 2014 title.
The Frenchman, rebounding from a crash towards the end of Wednesday's test, ended the morning 12th-fastest.
Pos Driver Team/Engine Time Gap 1. Will Power Penske/Chevy 32.5220s 2. Helio Castroneves Penske/Chevy 32.5271s +0.0051s 3. Ed Carpenter Carpenter/Chevy 32.8148s +0.2928s 4. Scott Dixon Ganassi/Chevy 32.8278s +0.3058s 5. Tony Kanaan Ganassi/Chevy 32.8332s +0.3112s 6. Charlie Kimball Ganassi/Chevy 32.8415s +0.3195s 7. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt/Honda 32.9453s +0.4233s 8. Juan Pablo Montoya Penske/Chevy 32.9610s +0.4390s 9. Josef Newgarden Fisher/Honda 32.9640s +0.4420s 10. Ryan Briscoe Ganassi/Chevy 32.9702s +0.4482s 11. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti/Honda 32.9710s +0.4490s 12. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt/Honda 32.9813s +0.4593s 13. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Honda 33.0507s +0.5287s 14. Carlos Munoz Andretti/Honda 33.0740s +0.5520s 15. Marco Andretti Andretti/Honda 33.1296s +0.6076s 16. Sebastien Bourdais KV/Chevy 33.1928s +0.6708s 17. Graham Rahal Rahal/Honda 33.1999s +0.6779s 18. Takuma Sato Foyt/Honda 33.2080s +0.6860s 19. Justin Wilson Coyne/Honda 33.2848s +0.7628s 20. Jack Hawksworth Herta/Honda 33.3418s +0.8198s 21. Sebastian Saavedra KV/Chevy 33.3880s +0.8660s 22. Carlos Huertas Coyne/Honda 34.0423s +1.5203s All drivers use Dallara chassis