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Power Powerful In Mid-Ohio Practice

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 30 2016
Will Power was fastest in practice on Friday at Mid-Ohio. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Will Power was fastest in practice on Friday at Mid-Ohio. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

RacinToday.com

Will Power continues to aggressively chase down the prey _ specifically, point-leader and Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud _ as the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule winds down. Power topped the field during practice Friday for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, running what would be a record pace in the process.

Power’s best lap around the natural terrain layout of 1 minute, 4.1962-seconds/126.624 mph during the second of two, 75-minute practices was nearly four-tenths of a second better than the track record established a year ago by four-time/reigning series champion Scott Dixon in Verizon P1 Award qualifying.

Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was among four drivers who turned laps around the 2.258-mile course under Dixon’s standard. “Obviously the cars are just getting faster and faster,” Power said. “It’s not like the track is getting faster. It’s just amazing how much speed we have in like Turn 11 and Turn 1 now. It’s definitely going to be a lap record broken. Yeah, that’ll be broken for sure, if it’s dry.”

Power sat out the 2016 season-opener on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., with an inner-ear infection, but has won three of the last four completed races to move into second in the championship. The 28-time Indy car race-winner and 2014 series champion sits 47 points behind teammate Pagenaud _ the other three-race winner this season.

“It’s very obvious to us what we have to do, and that’s finish ahead of Pagenaud in particular because he’s got such a chunk of points ahead of us,” Power said. “It’s a no-brainer for us. Not that you take any stupid risks, but we understand that week-in, week-out, you’ve got your aim, you’ve got your goal.”

Dixon, a five-time Mid-Ohio race-winner in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy, led morning practice with a lap of 1:04.4491-seconds/126.127 mph that held up for second-fastest overall. Ganassi teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet, ran 1:04.4663-seconds/126.094 mph while Pagenaud (1:04.5353-seconds/125.959 mph) also eclipsed Dixon’s track record in the afternoon practice before heavy rains moved in with 25 minutes remaining.

RC Enerson, making his IndyCar Series debut after driving the first half of the season in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, grabbed everyone’s attention by running seventh-quick in the afternoon session (1:04.7284-seconds/125.583 mph). The Dale Coyne Racing driver was amped to be behind the wheel of the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda.

“It was incredible,” said the 19-year-old who won an Indy Lights race at Mid-Ohio last year. “It’s completely different from anything I have driven. Every time I come here, I tend to do all right and it’s one of my favorite tracks. It’s just got this thing about it that suits my driving style really well and I’m just excited to be here.”

Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is Round 13 of the 16-race season, although the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth was suspended by rain after 71 laps on June 12 and will be completed Aug. 27.

A third Mid-Ohio practice session is scheduled from 9:45-10:30 a.m. (EDT) Saturday, ahead of three rounds of knockout qualifying to determine the pole-winner at 2 p.m. NBC Sports Network and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network will cover qualifying.

Coverage of Sunday’s 90-lap race will begin at 2 p.m. (EDT) on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with a same-day re-air at 5:30 p.m. on NBCSN.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 30 2016
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