Practice begins for inaugural Grand Prix of Indy

Helio Castroneves, of Brazil, (3) leads Carlos Munoz, of Bogota, left, and Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, through turn 2 during practice for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis IndyCar auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Thursday, May 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Helio Castroneves, of Brazil, (3) leads Carlos Munoz, of Bogota, left, and Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, through turn 2 during practice for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis IndyCar auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Thursday, May 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Thursday was a perfect day for getting familiar with the new road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway again.

The Verizon IndyCar Series teams were all on the track at 10 a.m. for an intense 45-minute practice session. The 25 drivers are scrambling to get a feel for what the weekend will be like for Saturday’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, Will Power, and Juan Pablo Montoya are learning what it might take to grab the pole on Friday.

“The track’s pretty slick right now,” Montoya said. “For our Verizon car, there’s a lot of under steer in the car. The front just doesn’t turn right now. The conditions are very different than the test, so we have to catch up and see how we can make the car a little better.”

“Just looking at the weather for tomorrow, we just want to get as much dry running as possible in case it rains,” Power said. “We’ll see what we get and make sure we make up some ground on the guys running in the front.”

Sebastien Bourdais topped the morning speed charts with a lap of 124.518 mph, while Scott Dixon turned the fastest lap of the afternoon practice and the entire day at 124.606 mph.

“I think it’s been a real pleasure to be back at this place starting the month a little bit earlier,” Dixon said. “They did a fantastic job on the track with the grip level and the way it’s going to race with the long straight-aways and the big braking zones.”

The drivers will be back on the track Friday morning at 10 a.m for practice. Qualifications begin at 2 p.m.

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