Pagenaud leads, Power crashes in first practice at St. Petersburg

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Verizon IndyCar Series is underway for the 2016 season with the first 75-minute practice in the books for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

There wasn’t a ton of running during the session, but Simon Pagenaud led overall with a best time of 1:01.7246 in the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet.

“It’s first practice of the year. The car feels nice right now but a lot of work still to do,” Pagenaud told IndyCar Radio’s Nick Yeoman.

Jack Hawksworth was second and the best Honda in the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda at 1:01.7870.

“The car feels pretty good. The times seem pretty decent. We’re expecting a good weekend,” Hawksworth told IndyCar Radio’s Rob Howden.

Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay completed the top five. Last year’s series champion Scott Dixon was sixth with last year’s St. Petersburg winner Juan Pablo Montoya in eighth.

The biggest story to emerge out of the session, however, was Will Power suffering an accident at Turn 9 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Power, just five laps into the day, ran wide at the left-hand kink and sustained heavy right side damage – but it was not apparent whether something broke on the car to cause the accident. His car stopped at the runoff at Turn 10 and caused a red flag.

Power did drive by on a scooter in the paddock, so was OK after the contact. Per Team Penske, Power was apparently adjusting brake bias and his hand slipped on the wheel, which was also something NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell observed.

See notes from USA Today Sports’ Brant James below as the Verizon Team Penske crew began repairs.

Of note, the four rookies, Alexander Rossi, Spencer Pigot, Conor Daly and Max Chilton clocked in 18th, 19th, 20th and 22nd, with Mikhail Aleshin in 21st. None has had a massive amount of testing time, and Rossi led the quartet.

Temperatures began at 78 degrees Fahrenheit ambient and 87 on track, per Firestone, but rose to 76 and 100 45 minutes into the session.

Times are below:

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Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”