American Le Mans Series hard at work in Canada

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Multiple major categories such as Formula One, the IZOD IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are taking this weekend off, but the American Le Mans Series will be on the throttle at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park outside Toronto.

Preparations began this morning for Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix (Race Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes), and the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team of Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf (pictured) picked up where they left off two weeks ago at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. The duo is out for their fourth consecutive ALMS victory, and Graf led today’s opening practice session with a time of 1 minute, 7.124 seconds in the No. 6 HPD ARX-03c.

In the P2 category, Mike Conway, subbing for the injured Ryan Briscoe, put the No. 552 Level 5 Motorsports HPD-ARX 03b at the top of the practice charts with a time of 1 minute, 11.272 seconds. Conway, who raced admirably in last weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader, also led a “Promoter Test Day” on Friday at CTMP, so it would appear he is a threat for a class win in Canada.

Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia (1 minute, 16.227 seconds), BAR1 Motorsports’ Kyle Marcelli (1 minute, 11.838 seconds), and Alex Job Racing’s Jereon Bleekemolen led the Grand Touring, Prototype Challenge, and GT Challenge classes respectively in the session. Qualifying for tomorrow’s race will take place later this afternoon on the 2.46-mile road course, which has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation.

Its place on the major-league sports car landscape is yet to be determined as United SportsCar Racing continues to sort out its inaugural 2014 schedule. Track co-owner and accomplished Canadian racer Ron Fellows told the ALMS’ official website that he sees the chances of CTMP making the cut at “50-50.”

The track has been part of the ALMS schedule since the series’ inception in 1999.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.