Will Power closes 2-day test atop the speed chart
Will Power topped the speed charts for a second consecutive day
of IndyCar testing at Barber Motorsports Park.
The Penske Racing driver turned a lap at 1:07.1329, which was
more than 3 seconds faster than last year’s pole winning time set
by teammate Helio Castroneves.
”Good start for the spring training,” Power said. ”I think we
got some good stuff to come back here for the race. It’s just
phenomenal how tight it is up front all the way through the field,
and also just how fast these cars are around here, it’s just
The IndyCar season opens March 24 in St. Pete, and Power said
he’s got very little planned between now and the opener.
”Just rest up, get ready and start the season,” he said.
The fourth and final session Wednesday afternoon saw 14 of the
28 driver-car combinations post their best lap times. James
Hinchcliffe was right behind Power at 1:07.3839, followed by Justin
Wilson and Scott Dixon.
But Tony Kanaan’s time of 1:07.5478 in Wednesday morning’s
session stood as fourth best overall.
”It’s a good feeling to go into the first race of the season
after a productive test like this,” Kanaan said. ”Being here for
two days gave us the ability to sort out the small bugs that we had
on the first outing and work through our full test schedule. We
made some good progress with the car, the new Firestone tires are
working great and our Chevy engine was flawless. I’m ready for the
green flag in St. Pete.”
Defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth fastest
overall with a lap turned Wednesday morning but felt the Andretti
Autosport group is a long way off from the Penske cars of Power and
Castroneves right now.
”We need to close the gap, but we have some things to work
on,” Hunter-Reay said. ”We know what’s in the car – we need to
close the gap to whittle on the Penske boys, but all in all the
team did a good job over the test.”
It wasn’t as smooth for Marco Andretti, who was 22nd overall and
lagged far behind teammates Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay. The fourth
Andretti driver, newcomer E.J. Viso, was 20th.
”We got a lot done, but just not a lot of forward progress for
No. 25 car today,” Andretti said. ”It was a disappointing day,
but obviously our teammates were quick, so we can look at what they
are doing and be ready to come back in a couple weeks.”
James Jakes tested Wednesday for the first time with new team
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He was ninth quickest in the
afternoon and 11th overall.
Ana Beatriz ran 41 laps Wednesday morning for Dale Coyne Racing
– bringing her two-day total to 72 laps – before turning the car
over to Stefan Wilson. Justin Wilson’s younger brother completed 42
Both Beatriz and Stefan Wilson are trying to put together deals
to drive a limited schedule in the second Coyne car.
”It’s great to have a taste of IndyCar,” said Stefan Wilson,
who has two Indy Lights victories. ”Unfortunately, we missed an
hour-and-a-half after lunch so it was just a brief taste, but
hopefully we’ll be able to get another test in. There was a lot to
adjust to, getting use to gearing, coming into pit stops and
leaving the pits as well. It was a lot to take in on the first day.
It’s good to just kind of shake the cobwebs off and get back in a
race car on the road course.”
NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger, who is making a limited return to
open-wheel by driving in the Indianapolis 500 and at Barber for
Penske Racing, wound up 18th overall. He said he’s still got some
learning to do to get reacquainted with an Indy car.
”We still have a long ways to go in the learning process, but I
was pleased with some of the steps we were able to make,”
Allmendinger said. ”Obviously these Chevy engines are fast when
you look at the best two times, now it is my job to start getting
in front of the car and learn how to turn that speed into better