Helio Castroneves heads Edmonton practice
Helio Castroneves has a coloured history at the Edmonton circuit, and he has started the race weekend strongly, practicing fastest at the Canadian airport track.
In 2010, Castroneves was controversial penalised for blocking while in the lead late in the race.
Almost nothing would give the exuberant Brazilian more satisfaction than winning the 75-lap race on the 2.224-mile, 13-turn City Centre Airport circuit, and topping the practice times is the best possible start.
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud was fastest in the morning practice session, but Castroneves was too strong in the afternoon.
“Basically, the Penske Truck Rental team did a good job,” said Castroneves, who is third in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings.
“We came with a really good package, and between my team-mates (Will Power and Ryan Briscoe) and I, we tried some random things in the first session to get where we were this afternoon.
“We like the direction that we are going and we are very encouraged for (qualifying). We know tomorrow and Sunday are the days that matter so we want to stay up front then so we’ll continue working. The track improved a lot for this afternoon, that’s where we were faster along with changes from this morning. We got into a good rhythm this afternoon and the car felt fast and good.”
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was second, only 0.0027s behind Castroneves. Mike Conway, who recorded his first podium finish of the season two weeks ago at Toronto, was third in the #14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing. He was in the top three in both sessions.
Canadians James Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani also were in the top six. Series points leader Ryan Hunter-Reay was ninth overall. The top 18 cars were separated by less than a half-second.
Australians Will Power and Ryan Briscoe were 10th and 16th respectively.