Will Power set the quickest time in the second practice for Sunday’s season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg after crashing heavily in Practice 1.
Unlike Practice 1, all drivers but one immediately took to the track as the green flag flew with Power sitting out the early part of the second session. Takuma Sato set the initial pace with a 1:02.8774.
Team Penske demonstrated early dominance with Helio Castroneves taking the top spot with a 1:02.5155. Teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power followed the French driver, each taking a turn as the fastest in the field.
Just past 10 minutes into the session, a red flag came out for what was initially reported as debris in Turn 3. Video replays showed that multiple cars had bottomed out in the corner and disturbed the track surface. Just before the red flag was thrown, Jack Hawksworth ran a 1:01.6207 to set the fastest lap.
Practice resumed after a 40-minute hiatus and was slightly extended with INDYCAR allowing teams an additional 40 minutes of practice time.
After the green flew, James Hinchcliffe briefly occupied the top of the timesheet before reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon joined the fray. Dixon took the No. 9 Chevrolet all the way to the top with a blistering speed of 1:00.9573, marking the first lap under of the weekend under the 1:01 mark.
When the checkered flag flew to end the session, Power had narrowly eclipsed Dixon’s time. Dixon and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top three with less than a second separating the top 10.
The Verizon IndyCar Series will return to the track on Saturday for a third practice session followed by knockout qualifying. The green flag flies on the streets of St. Petersburg at 12:52 p.m. EDT on Sunday after a brief 30-minute warm-up session at 9:00 a.m. EDT.