In the first practice, it was Dario Franchitti leading the way with an average speed of 102.619 and was followed by Penske Racing driver Helio Castroneves with a speed of 102.51.
“Overall, it was a good day for the Penske Truck Rental team,” Castroneves said. “Right off the bat, the car had good balance and good speed here in Toronto. We didn’t put on new tires at the end of the last practice – I wanted to, but my new strategist (John Erickson) is already working on trying something different so I listened to him! I love the yellow car and the yellow suit of Penske Truck Rental. It reminds me of Dancing With the Stars. Let’s hope we have the same kind of result this weekend.”
Team Penske put Erickson in place as the strategist for Castroneves for the first time this weekend in Toronto. Erickson was working with Will Power, who will now be teamed up with Tim Cindric. Finally, Clive Howell will continue to focus on his duties as team general manager.
Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top three at an average speed of 102.458mph.
“We were third-quick in the first session, so we had a good morning – and I think we were having a good afternoon,” he said. “The DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car was feeling pretty good; we were in the top five until we decided not to take new tires like most of the top 10 did. But, we’ll just save those for tomorrow and hopefully it will pay off for us.”
Justin Wilson and Power was fourth and fifth, followed by Scott Dixon was sixth, followed by Alex Tagliani, Takumo Sato, Tony Kanaan and Mike Conway. James Hinchcliffe, who calls the Honda Indy his hometown race, was the quickest rookie in 11th.
The first practice saw no on track incidents.
In the second practice, Power led the way with an average speed of 104.330.
“The Verizon car is good, but we are still not quick enough,” he said. “We put tires on there at the end of the second practice and no one else did. We are just a bit off the pace. We still have a few things in mind to improve the car. It is great to be in Toronto, though, and relaly good to see all the fans.”
He was followed by Ganassi Racing driver Dixon with a speed of 104.145 as the top 15 cars were quicker than Franchitti’s first session quickest lap.
“It’s definitely cool to be back at a street course, especially Toronto,” he said. “It’s a fun circuit. It’s definitely different than the last four races with all left hand turns and now coming back to a bumpy circuit. The track seems to be a little bumpier, especially going into turn 1 and maybe down the back straight as well. It’s created a few new issues that we haven’t had before. The times actually seem surprisingly quicker. Even on the primary tires, we only seems to be five-tenths off the quick times of the options.”
Franchitti was third in the session, followed by Hinchcliffe and Kanaan. Wilson was sixth, followed by Oriol Servia, Ryan Briscoe, Castroneves and Danica Patrick.
The second practice saw two full course yellows. The first was eight minutes into the session when Tagliani spun mid corner in turn 8, making contact with the outside retaining wall. He was then struck by Graham Rahal, briefly lifting the car off the ground. Due to the wreck, Tagliani suffered rear wing damage while Rahal had front wing damage. The second incident was when Sebastian Bourdais stopped on course in turn 8. After being re-fired by the Holmatro Safety Team, he was able to make it back to pit lane. There was also local caution, which saw Ana Beatriz spin in turn 2.
Qualifying will take place Saturday afternoon at 12:50pm EST, with the race taking place on Sunday July 10th at 2pm ET.