Jun 27, 2014, 11:50 AM EST
The old sparring partners, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, were 1-2 in first practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race 1 (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).
Power set down a best time of 1:00.4427 late in the first 45-minute practice session, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to lead the time sheets at the 1.6-mile M.D Anderson Cancer Center Speedway at NRG Park.
Pagenaud, back in the orange Oculus-backed No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda after running the white Lucas Oil colors last race at Texas, was second at 1:00.6956.
“The bump in Turn 1 has been smoothened, so it’s definitely a better standard for us,” Pagenaud told IndyCar Radio at the end of the session. “It’s a lot of fun to drive… you have to be very committed in the braking zones. It’s actually very enjoyable so far.”
Sebastien Bourdais, Takuma Sato, and Tony Kanaan completed the top five. Each of the top nine runners got into the 1:00 bracket; the top 16 were within 0.9972 of a second down to Carlos Munoz.
This first practice had one brief red flag interruption as part of the sealant surface in-between Turns 9 and 10 at the 20-minute mark, but this was repaired and the session resumed. There were a few incidents, including a spin by rookie Mikhail Aleshin at Turn 4, but nothing major or that forced damage.
Second practice occurs from 2 to 2:45 local time, with a 10-minute standing start practice to follow.
Here’s your first practice times.
Video from NASCAR America
- LeBron James’ agent involved in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s hunt for sponsorship 1
- Sponsorship woes leave Jeb Burton scrambling again for a NASCAR ride 3
- Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick: “I’m as comfortable as I’ve ever been” 0
- Danica Patrick enters final year of contract but wants to stay at Stewart-Haas 14
- Start times for 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races 9
- Bowyer on Gordon: “You’re never good with somebody when it got that ugly” 25
- NASCAR considers unveiling 2016 rules at Sprint All-Star Race in May 2