Friday, August 28, 2015

Power Tops Final Friday of IndyCar Season

The Champ won't go down without a fight
The final Friday practice session of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series was topped by Will Power as the defending champion looks to retain his crown. The Australian lapped Sonoma Raceway at 77.4858 seconds. Graham Rahal enters Sonoma second in the championship and he was second in the session, 0.1326 seconds behind Power. The most recent winner in IndyCar, Ryan Hunter-Reay was third, 0.1565 seconds back. Last year's winner at Sonoma and one of six championship contenders, Scott Dixon was fourth, trailing Power by 0.3079 seconds. Marco Andretti rounded out the top five, 0.3969 seconds back.

Simon Pagenaud was sixth, 0.5050 seconds behind his Penske teammate. He was the final driver to run a lap within the 77-second bracket. Hélio Castroneves was seventh, just 0.125 seconds behind Pagenaud. The Brazilian ran 59 laps in the session, more than any other driver. Charlie Kimball was eighth fastest as he was 0.602 seconds behind Castroneves. Championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya was ninth, 0.6043 seconds behind Power as Sébastien Bourdais rounded out the top ten, 0.6532 seconds back.

Carlos Muñoz was 11th in the session, 0.6671 seconds off the fastest time in the session. Tony Kanaan was 12th with Josef Newgarden the slowest championship contender in the session down in 13th. Former Sonoma winner Ryan Briscoe was 14th. Only 0.012 seconds covered Muñoz, Kanaan, Newgarden and Briscoe. Gabby Chaves was the top rookie in the session, 15th overall and just over three quarters of a second off Power.

Sebastián Saavedra followed his fellow Colombian on the time sheet as he was 16th, just over nine-tenths slower than Power. Mikhail Aleshin was 17th in his first IndyCar practice session since suffering his accident at Fontana one year ago. Foyt teammates Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato were 18th and 19th respectively. Tristan Vautier rounded out the top twenty and only completed a session-low 20 laps.

James Jakes was 21st as Rodolfo González was 22nd. Luca Filippi, Stefano Coletti and Oriol Servià rounded out the timesheet.

If the practice session results were used as mock race results, Graham Rahal would be champion with 546 points and Juan Pablo Montoya in second with 544 points. Will Power would jump up to third in the championship with 540 points. Scott Dixon would be fourth on 517 points. Hélio Castroneves would round out the top five on 475 points. Marco Andretti would jump Josef Newgarden was Andretti would have 450 points to Newgarden's 447.

Saturday will feature a practice session at 1:45 p.m. ET and be 45 minutes in length and will set the groups for round one of qualifying. Qualifying is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET and will be shown live on NBCSN after the NASCAR Xfinity Series race has concluded from Road America.