TORONTO – Today was Team Penske’s day to shine in Toronto, as they haven’t had too many of those days over the last few decades there. In fact, Penske has just one win on the streets of Toronto in the last 22 years and only two wins on the 1.786-mile circuit overall. But, Friday was their chance to pace the field, as it looks like going into qualifying on Saturday and the Honda Indy Toronto race on Sunday, that they’re going to be the team to beat.
Simon Pagenaud turned the quickest lap of the day in the second and final session on Friday afternoon, as he lapped the 11-turn circuit in 1:01.7-seconds. His Penske teammate of Helio Castroneves was right behind him, as he turned a quick lap of 1:01.9091-seconds just prior to that, to give Penske the top two speeds of the day.
They were also the only two drivers to eclipse the 1:01-second barrier on Friday.
But, their other teammate Will Power was right there with them, as Power gave Penske a clean sweep of the top three speeds in the second practice session this afternoon, and top three on the overall speed chart, as the 2008 Toronto winner turned a lap of 1:02.0573-seconds in his No. 12 Verizon Wireless Chevy to give Penske 1-2-3 on the timing chart today.
Mix that with the first session, and you have Pagneaud who was third and first respectively, Castroneves being ninth and second respectively and Power coming in at sixth and third respectively in the two sessions, and you see why they’re the top three favorites.
Unfortunately, their fourth member of the team in Juan Pablo Montoya had a disastrous day. He was 13th in the opening session this morning, then crashed his car in the second session as he ended up being 17th on the final speed chart. Luckily for him, he’s part of a great team that can give him the setups that are working for his teammates and maybe shine with them on Saturday and Sunday.
No, no points were being paid today, but Penske has to be happy leaving the paddock this evening.