Power was the fastest in morning practice
Simon Pagenaud was consistently quick during the opening day of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers.
Pagenaud (in photo), driving the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda, posted the quickest time overall in the afternoon practice session with a lap of 1 minute, 0.1415 seconds on the 1.634-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit. He was second on the time chart in the companion 45-minute morning session.
"Houston is a track where you don't really have any time to breathe," said Pagenaud, who won the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10 and is fourth in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings. "This car is a pleasure to drive. We just need to keep up with the track because the car was pretty much perfect. If we're good (June 28) on the red Firestone tires, we should be in good shape."
"The track has been improved quite a bit in Turn 1, which is quite pleasant," he said. "It looks pretty strong right now. We just need to keep up with the track because the car was pretty much perfect today. If we're good tomorrow on the red Firestone tires, we should be in good shape. (About his car not looking perfect): "I like to have a - and obviously on TV it doesn't look that way - I like to have a stable rear and good traction and that what's the car is providing me even though I'm sliding it around a bit. It's a bumpy track and a tight track, sometimes it's necessary to pitch the car around to make it turn the way you want. So far it's perfect because it suits my driving style well and that's why it's perfect."
Ryan Briscoe, driving the No. 8 NTT DATA car for Chip Ganassi Racing, was second quick (1:00.6428) in the afternoon. Luca Filippi, who is making his fifth/sixth Verizon IndyCar Series starts this weekend, was third on the lap chart (1:00.6735) in the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.
Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Will Power was quickest (1:00.4427) in the morning session in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.