Penske Pair Paces Practice
August 24, 2012 | 8:41 P.M. EST
Power, who has won the past two IZOD IndyCar Series races at Sonoma from the pole in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, posted a lap of 1 minute, 18.6887 seconds in the 75-minute session. (Photo: Getty Images)
Power, who has won the past two IZOD IndyCar Series races at Sonoma from the pole in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, posted a lap of 1 minute, 18.6887 seconds in the 75-minute session.
"It's coming down to the nitty-gritty now (for the championship) so it's important to get everything right," Power said. "It will be very important to start up front in the race if you want to finish on the podium."
Briscoe, driving the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske car, supplanted Simon Pagenaud with 20 seconds left with a lap of 1:18.8782.
Pagenaud, seeking to wrap up the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award, was 0.2341 of a second off Power's pace in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car.
"It was a good start to the weekend," Pagenaud said. "The HP team has done a good job preparing the car. It feels better and we're faster than we were at the test. I know we have a good car, so we'll just work on making it better for qualifying."
The three rounds of qualifications commence at 5:30 p.m. (ET).
The 12 and 2 combination wasn't exactly what title contender Ryan Hunter-Reay wanted to see. The Andretti Autosport driver, who is five points behind Power in the standings with three races left, was 19th of the 27 cars.
Dario Franchitti and Rubens Barrichello also were in the top five. The top 13 cars were separated by 1 second on the recently modified course.