ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—2014 series champion Will Power is off to a very fast start in 2015—fastest of the 24 drivers practicing for the Verizon IndyCar 2015 season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Power, driving for Penske Racing put his #1 Chevy-powered Dallara atop the timesheet in both practice sessions, more than a tenth of a second ahead of new team mate Simon Pagenaud in the #22 Penske Dallara Chevrolet.
Power won the race in 2010 and again in 2014, and qualified fastest in four of the five years; all signs point to yet another year of domination for the 34-year-old Australian.
Penske’s Helio Castroeves was third quickest around the 14 turns of the 1.8-mile course laid out in the streets of downtown St. Pete.
Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato was the quickest-Honda-powered driver. Sato beat his 2014 pole time by 0.3567 seconds; in fact the top seven drivers were quicker in the two practice sessions than Sato’s fastest 2014 qualifying lap.
Penske’s fourth driver Juan Montoya, filled out the top five, only 0.18 seconds behind his speedy team mate.
Based on practice results it seems Chevrolet’s engine and aero kit are a bit better dialed-in than Honda’s Twelve of the top 18 drivers were using the Chevy package.
2013 IndyCar champ Ryan Hunter-Reay, in the #28 Andretti car, and 2008 St. Pete winner Graham Rahal in the #15 RLL car were the only other Honda cars in the top ten,
Qualifying for the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg starts at 4:10 p.m. while the race starts at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The race will be broadcast live on ABC-TV.