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Fontana IndyCar: Will Power leads Helio Castroneves in practice

Will Power, Penske, Fontana IndyCar 2014

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
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