Castroneves Fastest in Practice

Under gloriously sunny conditions Helio Castroneves was the fastest man overall in three practice sessions at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first street course race in IRL history

Castroneves Fastest in Practice

Castroneves topped the time sheets with a time of 1 minute 3.0836 seconds, fractionally ahead of rival Dario Franchitti on a day where the top eight drivers ran within a second of each other. Castroneves will now have the choice to run either first or last in qualifying.

As could be expected there were a number of off track excursions during the sessions - in the first session AJ Foyt, Sam Hornish, Roger Yasukawa, Tomas Scheckter and Ryan Briscoe all spun, with Briscoe's incident keeping him out of the afternoon sessions as repairs were effected to his car.

The drivers came to grips with the track later in the day, with only Ed Carpenter and Castroneves spinning in the afternoon. "I was so excited, I spun in my own drool!" he laughed after the session. "Every change we made to the car was good - out of the truck, the car was really fast.

"We're just trying to make sure we go smooth, so we're doing okay. Tomorrow is another day, but the track is really fun."

"I'm really happy to be back racing through the streets," Franchitti noted. "We stepped over the boundary from having a car that understeered to having one that oversteered a bit, but we definitely made it faster throughout the day so I'm very happy about that."

Tony Kanaan had an unusual way of preparing for the race: "It was hard the first three laps because I told my guys to give me new brakes and rain tires, so I could have the worst conditions I could have so I would go slow, because I was so excited! It's been really fun - it was good to turn right again."

Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - Combined Practice Times
Pos Driver Time Ses Laps
1. Helio Castroneves 1:03.0836 2 37 2. Dario Franchitti 1:03.1503 2 47 3. Tony Kanaan 1:03.8507 2 39 4. Darren Manning 1:03.9554 2 37 5. Vitor Meira 1:03.9635 2 49 6. Bryan Herta 1:04.0691 2 42 7. Scott Dixon 1:04.0752 2 52 8. Kosuke Matsuura 1:04.0897 2 58 9. Tomas Enge 1:04.1141 2 38 10. Alex Barron 1:04.2151 2 44 11. Dan Wheldon 1:04.2684 2 43 12. Scott Sharp 1:04.3432 2 58 13. Sam Hornish Jr 1:04.5225 2 47 14. Tomas Scheckter 1:04.6114 2 42 15. Danica Patrick 1:04.7761 2 50 16. Buddy Rice 1:05.1900 2 48 17. Ryan Briscoe 1:05.2321 1 37 18. Roger Yasukawa 1:06.2030 1 27 19. Patrick Carpentier 1:07.3473 1 14 20. Ed Carpenter 1:08.0346 2 47 21. AJ Foyt IV 1:08.3713 2 53
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