ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Six months after they fought to the last race for the IZOD IndyCar championship Dario Franchitti and Will Power were at it again on Friday at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
In the first day of practice for Sunday’s race Power nipped Franchitti by a minuscule 14/100ths of a second on the 1.8 mile temporary street course.
Power’s time was one minute, 3.375 seconds in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dallara Honda while Franchitti’s best lap in the No. 10 Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda was 1:03:518.
“I can never get away from the guy,” Power said of the driver who beat him at Homestead Miami Speedway to win the championship in 2010.
Franchitti, who is seeking his fourth championship, said that despite his second-fastest time Friday he almost lost the car a couple of times during practice.
“I was feeling the rust,” Franchitti said.
Mike Conway, making a comeback with Andretti Autosport, was third fastest at 1:03:666.
Power’s Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe and Ganassi’s Scott Dixon rounded out the top five at 1:03:721 and 1:03:873 respectively.
Alex Tagliani, the lone Canadian at the St. Petersburg race, was 14th fastest in he No. 77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports machine with a time of 1:04:235.