Team Penske had a strong start to their Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend in California on Friday with Juan Pablo Montoya leading a Penske 1-2 ahead of Will Power in the first session while in the second session, the Colombian ended up in sixth place just behind team mate Simon Pagenaud and speaking following the opening day, Montoya stated:
Our first practice was good in the Verizon Chevy. The second practice we made a couple of mistakes. I think we actually learned a lot more during the second practice because we found some things we shouldn’t have done. With what we learned I think we’ll be better for the race. For qualifying set up we may have gone back a little bit but we will continue to work on it in the practice tomorrow.
Will Power ended the second session as the fastest driver ending up just ahead of the two Honda powered cars of James Hinchcliffe and Graham Rahal and speaking following practice the Australian commented by saying:
It’s been a good start. This morning I learned some stuff with Juan (Pablo Montoya), and we’re progressing well. This is a track where I’ve struggled the last couple of years in qualifying starting way back there, so I want to start up front and give ourselves a better chance to win the race.
Helio Castroneves was happy with how the No.3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet ran today saying:
The Auto Club of Southern California Chevy was running good today. We were able to make some changes from the first practice to the second and it seemed to improve the car. We need to continue working together with the entire team for tomorrow – it really starts to count then. Hopefully we can come back strong like last year, be in the top six and put it on the pole.
Points leader Simon Pagenaud was full of praise for his crew saying:
The PPG Automotive Refinish team did a great job in making a great recovery for second practice. We had a couple of issues earlier this morning. The real issue was the first set of tires, but we recovered to put ourselves in the top four. So, we can relax a little bit, knowing we’re up there and it’s a real testament to our crew to get that car ready so quickly. The track is tricky out there. The cars are so fast and we brake so deep, so you really have to try hard because there’s a lot going on. However, we did a great job to bounce back so quickly before qualifying tomorrow.