IRL: St. Pete: Honda Friday report

Castroneves Quick in St. Petersburg Helio Castroneves, the defending Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race winner, is again proving to be the man to beat on the 1.8-mile Florida temporary street circuit, as he edged fellow Brazilian...

Castroneves Quick in St. Petersburg

Helio Castroneves, the defending Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race winner, is again proving to be the man to beat on the 1.8-mile Florida temporary street circuit, as he edged fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan by just eight-hundredths of a second in opening practice Friday for Sunday's second round in the 2007 IndyCar Series championship.

Castroneves best lap of 101.6016 (105.192 mph) was more than a half second (and one mile an hour) faster than the previous single-lap record here, set by Dario Franchitti in 2006.

Kanaan, who led most of the second and faster practice session, slotted into second overall in his Andretti Green Racing Honda, just two-tenths of a second quicker than Scott Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. Two additional Andretti Green entries -- Franchitti and Marco Andretti -- rounded out the top five in a day free of major incidents.

Sunday's 100-lap event, the first of five road/street races in the 17-race 2007 IndyCar season, starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ESPN.

Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske Honda) fastest in Friday practice, defending race winner: "In the first practice this morning, we had some good moments and some bad moments. First we were 'chasing' the track, then we were chasing the tire [wear]. We're definitely going a bit faster this year here, and I think that is due to the new Honda [3.5-liter] engine. The second practice started out like more of the same, but then my engineers worked some kind of black magic and all of a sudden my car was very, very fast. In the closing minutes, it was just me and Tony [Kanaan] fighting it out, just like the old days in Indy Lights."

-credit: honda racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing