Wilson leads opening day of practice at Houston

Sage Karam sets the fastest lap in Indy Lights.

Wilson leads opening day of practice at Houston

HOUSTON (Friday, Oct. 4, 2013) - IZOD IndyCar Series championship contenders Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon displayed their cars will be fast in the first practice session for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader, while Justin Wilson and Will Power significantly lowered lap times in the second 45-minute session.

Wilson, driving the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car for Dale Coyne Racing, posted the fastest lap of the day of 1 minute, 04.4237 seconds on the 1.683-mile, 10-turn circuit at Reliant Park. Power, fastest in the first practice (1:06.3983) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, was .3790 of a second behind Wilson, who is seeking to become the record-tying 11th different winner this season.

Dixon, who enters the weekend doubleheader 49 points behind Castroneves, was second fast in the initial practice session and sixth in the second session (1:05.7512). Castroneves followed placing third on the time sheet in the first practice with 11th place (1:05.7512) in the No. 3 Shell Pennzoil Team Penske car.

Practice sessions and qualifications for the IZOD IndyCar Series were revised because of a surface issue in Turn 1. A temporary chicane to slow the cars was employed until grinding of the racing surface at Turn 1 could take place overnight. That area of Reliant Park is utilized to store the grass field for Reliant Stadium.

Qualifying for Race 1, scheduled for Oct. 4, will be held at 11:45 a.m. (ET) Oct. 5. The three rounds of qualifying for road/street circuits, including the Firestone Fast Six, were forfeited for a 30-minute session split into two groups for 12 minutes each of track time. The 90-lap Race 1 with a standing start will proceed as planned at 3:30 p.m. (ET). Race 2 is at 1:30 p.m. (ET) Oct. 6.

Also on Oct. 4, Firestone Indy Lights championship points leader Sage Karam recorded the fastest lap in the lone practice before a 45-minute qualifying session for the same-day Grand Prix of Houston.

Karam's lap of 1 minute, 0.3931 seconds in the No. 8 Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian car on the 1.683-mile, 10-turn MD Anderson Cancer Center Speedway was .1118 of a second quicker than teammate Jack Hawksworth, who has won three of the four street course races this season.

Karam enters the 50-lap race with a two-point lead over Carlos Munoz. Gabby Chaves is four points back and Hawksworth is 11 points behind.

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