CASTRONEVES LEADs OPENING DAY OF PRACTICE AT WATKINS GLEN WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Friday, Sept. 23, 2005 -- Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves led the opening day of practice for the Sept. 25 Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by...
CASTRONEVES LEADs OPENING DAY OF PRACTICE AT WATKINS GLEN
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Friday, Sept. 23, 2005 -- Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves led the opening day of practice for the Sept. 25 Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage at Watkins Glen International.
The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner posted a lap of 1 minute, 32.8258 seconds, 130.696 mph, in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Toyota-powered Dallara. The Brazilian's time was slightly faster than 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series champion Tony Kanaan, who recorded a lap of 1:32.8807, 130.619 mph, in his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara. Castroneves earned the right to determine the order for Marlboro Pole Qualifying on Sept. 24.
2003 IndyCar® Series champion Scott Dixon was third-quickest at 1:33.2028, 130.168 mph in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Toyota-powered Panoz while Andretti Green teammates Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti were fourth and fifth, respectively in their Honda-powered Dallaras.
WATKINS GLEN INDY GRAND PRIX POST PRACTICE QUOTES:
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, fastest in practice): "We haven't had much luck on the road course this year. I understand there is a lot of experience needed on a road course when you're running ovals all the time. It takes some time to adapt after running on ovals for a while. This place is spectacular. I think our experience in CART, and even in go-carts, has helped Tony and me today. It was a weird day. It was raining earlier, and then it got sunny. We changed tires a lot, and it took a while to get comfortable. Team Penske did a good job again today, and hopefully we can continue like that again next year."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, second fastest): "It was a fun day. We got a chance to drive in the rain, which I had missed a lot, and I loved it. Another day in paradise, I would call it, back on the road course. We're doing a lot of work to put ourselves in a good spot for qualifying. I think second-to-last is a good position. We'll see, we're working towards the race."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, third fastest): "We did a lot of running in the rain. Our cars were the first ones out there. It was pretty decent. We messed up on a few different settings and we really didn't have the speed we needed to in the wet. We came out in the afternoon in the dry and the car was pretty decent. It was all about just getting a lap."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fourth fastest): "I think the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car feels pretty good. I thought the balance of the car was good in the afternoon and I'm looking forward to qualifying."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fifth fastest): "We definitely saw everything today. We saw beautiful sunshine and horrendous fog. I think the ArcaEx team is a lot closer than we were in the test. We still need to get the balance more comfortable for me. The car is doing a couple of things that I don't really like on a road course car. I think if we work on that, the lap time will come on its own. This morning was great; running in the rain. I haven't done that in a long time."
The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix Presented by Argent Mortgage at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 25 at Watkins Glen International. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast also will be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Corning 100 on Sept. 25 at Watkins Glen International. It will be telecast by ESPN2 at 3 p.m. on Sept. 29.