Castroneves leads 1st practice in Edmonton


Helio Castroneves has been the Edmonton Indy runner-up three of the past four years.

So almost nothing would give him more satisfaction than winning the race July 22 on the 2.224-mile, 13-turn City Centre Airport circuit in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental car. He started strongly by topping the 25-driver field with a lap of 1 minute, 16.4920 seconds in the second practice session, which also was quickest for the day in preparation for qualifications and the 75-lap race.

It also was quicker than the 2011 pole-winning time recorded by Takuma Sato (1:18.5165; 101.971 mph) in the Firestone Fast Six.

"Basically, the Penske Truck Rental team did a good job," said Castroneves, who's third in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings. "We came with a really good package, and between my teammates (Will Power and Ryan Briscoe) and I, we tried some random things in the first session to get where we were this afternoon."

Scott Dixon, a two-time Edmonton Indy winner who's driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, slid into second -- only .0027 of a second back. Mike Conway, who recorded his first podium finish of the season two weeks ago at Toronto, was third (1:16.5122) in the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing. He was in the top three in both sessions.

(This story is from a news release from IndyCar.)