The Verizon IndyCar Series cars completed their first practice session at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA, with the usual suspects leading the charts on the D-shaped oval.

Points Leader Will Power No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and his closest contender – and teammate, Helio Castroneves No.3 Southern California AAA Chevrolet were 1-2. Power’s time of 32.5220/221.389 mph was faster than his two-lap qualifying record set last year of 220.775 mph, and also faster than the top test time Wednesday, set by Scott Dixon No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet – 32.8075/219.462 mph. Power is last year’s winner.

Power and Castroneves turned the fewest laps – nine each.

Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter

Dixon was fourth fastest behind Ed Carpenter No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. Carpenter won the IndyCar race Auto Club Speedway in 2012, and finished second last year.

This is Carpenter’s last race as the single-car owner of Ed Carpenter Racing. Next year he’s merging with another single-car team, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, and the team will be known as CFH Racing. Current SFH Racing driver, Josef Newgarden No.67 Honda, has just resigned as driver for the new team. Still no word on any other details regarding engine supplier, any other drivers, staffing, etc.

Ed Carpenter Racing logo

Target Chip Ganassi cars

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing logo

Fifth was Tony Kanaan No.10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. The top six and eight of the top ten cars were Chevrolet, which has already clinched the IndyCar Manufacturers Championship.

The top Rookie was Mikhail Aleshin No.7 SMP Racing Honda – the top Honda of the morning. Two of the four Rookies – Carlos Huertas No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda and Jack Hawksworth No.98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian Honda turned the most laps. Huertas ran 49 laps for P22 while Hawksworth ran 45 laps for P20.

The other Rookie, Carlos Munoz No.34 Cinsay Andretti Autosport Honda was fourteenth, with 19 laps. Earlier in the day he was chatting up NBCSN journalist, Tony DiZinno, who is celebrating his birthday today. Happy Birthday Tony!

Carlos Munoz & Tony DiZinno
Carlos Munoz & Tony DiZinno

There was no drama during the 75-minute session. The temperature was the high eighties, with no breeze and low humidity. The air was not smoggy and there was a clear view of the nearby mountains. An eleven plus minutes caution for routine track inspection interrupted the practice. Debris which might harm tires is always a concern, and was so Wednesday for the test on the two-mile speedway.

Next up with IndyCar qualifying at 2:15pm PDT.