WILL POWER/No.12 Team Penske Chevrolet was fastest for most of the ninety-minute IZOD IndyCar practice Friday morning at Auto Club Speedway. His best time was 220.889 mph/32.5955 seconds.
Second and third, also in those positions for much of the session, were TONY KANAAN/No.11 KVSH Chevrolet and JAMES HINCHCLIFFE/No.27 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.
Fourth and fifth were Power’s Penske teammates, A.J. ALLMENDINGER/No.2 and Championship Contender HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3.
If this were the race, then Chevrolet would win the Manufacturer’s Championship. Not because the top five were all Chevrolet drivers, but because four of the five were Chevrolet drivers eligible to score Manufacturer Points. Any driver who goes beyond the allotted five engines for the year becomes ineligible for scoring Manufacturer Points. One Chevrolet and seven Honda drivers are over the engine limit, and as such will not only be ineligible for Mfr points, will take a ten grid position penalty.
Points Leader and top Honda driver, SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi ran sixth after running fourth for a long time.
If this were the race, then Castroneves would win the Driver’s Championship. Both Dixon and Castroneves have new engines, and are over their allotment.
Seventh through tenth were MARCO ANDRETTI/No.25 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet; ORIOL SERVIA/No.4 Panther Racing Chevrolet; JAMES JAKES/No.16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda; and 2012 IndyCar Champion, RYAN HUNTER REAY/No.1 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.
Last year’s Auto Club race winner, ED CARPENTER in No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet ended up twentieth. Not exactly where he wanted to be. He thinks there will be more grip during the night race in the lower groove.
All 25 cars were on course. During the several cautions, the drivers waited it out in the pits.
The temperature was in the low seventies with barely a breeze, and the track temps were 90 degrees F.
PIPPA MANN/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda hit the wall, but she is OK and cleared to race. She clocked an twenty-second position.
Sato also hit, is Ok and cleared to drive. He finished P14.
The other part-time driver, JR HILDEBRAND/No.98 Bryan Herta Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian Honda, was P21.
Andretti Autosport Indy Lights driver, CARLOS MUNOZ drove No.5 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet and was P24. The usual driver is EJ VISO, but he called in sick…according to Andretti Autosport’s Tweet. Andretti also ran Munoz at this year’s Indianapolis 500, where he finished second in his first-ever IndyCar race. Munoz is the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights Champion, and was an early leader this year, before dropping back to fourth position. Munoz finished second fastest in the first Indy Lights practice.
After an interlude with the Vintage indycars, Indy Lights qualify, and then ditto for the IndyCars, Both series will have a final practice, after another interlude with the vintage cars.