Castroneves leads Power and Pagenaud in Sonoma Practice

Helio Castroneves - Credit: Chris Owens / IndyCar

Helio Castroneves led both practice sessions for Team Penske as the Sonoma Raceway finale of the Verizon IndyCar Series season got underway on Friday.

The veteran Brazilian is not involved in the title battle but finished ahead of both of his championship challenging team-mates, with Castroneves edging out both Will Power and Simon Pagenaud as the team went 1-2-3 in second practice.

Penske decided not to run too many laps in the first session, with Castroneves running only four, but he was still able to put his #3 machine to the top of the time sheets with a lap of 1:17.3298, which was 0.1313 seconds faster than Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport.

Graham Rahal was third for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing ahead of Jack Hawksworth of AJ Foyt Racing, while Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay completed the top five in a relatively quiet and trouble free session.

Championship leader Pagenaud only completed five laps and finished tenth fastest, while Power, his only rival for the title, ran four laps and was down in an unrepresentative seventeenth.

The second session saw Penske put in more laps, and it was Castroneves who once again hit the front with a best time of 1:16.6678, with Power and Pagenaud second and third, 0.0394 and 0.3079 seconds down respectively.

Hunter-Reay ended this session in fourth, while Alexander Rossi completed the top five for Andretti Herta Autosport despite stopping on track with a suspected engine issue with just two minutes remaining on the clock.

It was the second red flag of the session after Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly also suffered an engine issue, which will require a change before Saturday’s running. The American driver finished at the back of the field in both sessions.

Sonoma Raceway Free Practice 1 Result

13Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:17.3298
227Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:17.4611
315Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:17.4976
441Jack HawksworthGBRAJ Foyt Enterprises1:17.5429
528Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:17.5826
67Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:17.6033
721Josef NewgardenUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.6386
814Takuma SatoJAPAJ Foyt Enterprises1:17.7193
95James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:17.8078
1022Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:17.8496
1198Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:17.8677
122Juan Pablo MontoyaCOLTeam Penske1:17.9049
1310Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:17.9561
1419RC EnersonUSADale Coyne Racing1:17.9777
1583Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:17.9969
1611Sebastien BourdaisFRAKVSH Racing1:18.0368
1712Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:18.0804
189Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:18.1574
1920Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:18.2291
2026Carlos MunozCOLAndretti Autosport1:18.2566
218Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:18.2853
2218Conor DalyUSADale Coyne Racing1:19.1439

Sonoma Raceway Free Practice 2 Result

13Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:16.6678
212Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:16.7072
322Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:16.9757
428Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:17.0569
598Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:17.0817
62Juan Pablo MontoyaCOLTeam Penske1:17.1836
726Carlos MunozCOLAndretti Autosport1:17.1905
811Sebastien BourdaisFRAKVSH Racing1:17.1968
983Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:17.3064
108Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:17.3276
1127Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:17.3286
1221Josef NewgardenUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.3315
135James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:17.4150
1410Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:17.4262
1541Jack HawksworthGBRAJ Foyt Enterprises1:17.4910
169Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:17.7009
1714Takuma SatoJAPAJ Foyt Enterprises1:17.7229
1820Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.7248
1919RC EnersonUSADale Coyne Racing1:17.7399
2015Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:17.9469
217Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:17.9659
2218Conor DalyUSADale Coyne Racing1:18.8412