(Photo courtesy IndyCar/Shawn Gritzmacher)

Will Power looks to extend recent run at another successful venue for him: Toronto

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When he missed the season opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 13 due to an inner ear issue, Will Power was worried he’d never be able to make up the points he failed to gain by not competing.

Four months and nine races later, Power has more than made up what he lost at St. Pete.

And, what’s more, he’s riding a streak that has seen him climb from 12th place in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings to third place in just three races.

Of course, winning two of those races (Belle Isle Race 2 and Road America), and finishing runner-up Sunday at Iowa, have gone a long way towards helping Power roar back up in the standings.

“We’ve worked hard to get to this point after starting in a bit of a hole,” Power said.

Granted, he’s still 75 points behind Penske teammate and series leader Simon Pagenaud, but Power feels strongly that he can keep things going in the season’s six remaining races and potentially take a big cut into his teammate’s points lead in this Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.

“The Verizon Chevy team has some really good momentum going right now,” Power said. “We’re in the championship hunt and, as we’ve seen before, anything can happen as the schedule shortens.”

Power has had great success at Toronto. In 11 total races between the Champ Car World Series and Verizon IndyCar Series, he has two wins (one in each series), four podiums, five top-fives, and two other top-10s.

In his last three visits to the temporary street course along Toronto’s Exhibition Place, downtown and along the lakeshore, Power has finished ninth (2014, Race 1), third (2014, Race 2) and fourth (2015).

“The results in Toronto have been good over the last couple of years,” Power said. “The circuit is challenging. There are several spots where you can find trouble.

“Track position will be really important. The whole team has been great over the last few races. We know how to win there, so I’m really looking forward to getting up there.”

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Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for the injured Oliver Askew, also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at Ground Zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.