Photo: Chris Jones/INDYCAR

Castroneves on Rails In Friday Practice at Sonoma

By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter

SONOMA, Calif. — Helio Castroneves was the man to beat in both practices for Sunday’s GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway.

The 2008 Sonoma winner set the fastest lap of the day during the afternoon session, setting a flying lap of 1:16.6678.

“The Hitachi Chevrolet is dialed in,” said Castroneves. “When we left here on Thursday, we felt confident and we tried a lot of bits and I guess it paid off. Today is just a continuation of what we finished that day and it seemed to work pretty well.”

Castroneves’ Team Penske teammate Will Power  set the second quickest lap of the day at 1:16.7072 while points leader Simon Pagenaud was a rather distant three tenths behind him in third place.

Andretti Autosport was up to form today with Marco Andretti turning the second quickest lap of the morning session (1:17 while Ryan Hunter-Reay carried the flag for the squad in the second session with the fourth quickest lap (1:17:0569). Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi reared him in fifth place and brought the session to an early end when the No. 98 Honda stopped just shy of the start finish line. Rossi reported on the radio prior to the stoppage that he felt a vibration as well as a possible engine misfire on his car.

Defending Sonoma winner Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristic day as he spun late in the afternoon session and could only muster the 16th quickest time of the day at 1:17.7009.

Both Dale Coyne Racing drivers had a dismal day with RC Enerson having two off track excursions and a stall during the afternoon session while Conor Daly had his Honda engine expire during the second session.

Results from GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma practice.

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Josh Farmer joined the media center in 2012 after first discovering his love of IndyCar racing in 2004 at Auto Club Speedway. He has been an accredited member of the IndyCar media center since 2014 and also contributes to along with The Motorsports Tribune.

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