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IndyCar's Will Power stays hot in Long Beach

April 16, 2010 |  2:09 pm

Australian Will Power, the red-hot Penske Racing driver who won two of the first three IndyCar races this season, ran the fastest lap in the initial practice Friday for the 36th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Power turned a lap of 99.221 mph on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn circuit on the city's seaside streets. Penske drivers, in fact, took three of the top four spots, with Helio Castroneves second and Ryan Briscoe fourth.

Castroneves won the third race of the season Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., while Power finished fourth.

Two-time champion Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was third in the first practice at Long Beach on Friday, and his teammate Dario Franchitti -- the defending race winner -- was fifth.

Danica Patrick of the Andretti Autosport team had a slow start, running 21st in the 25-car field.

Power, 29, won the Long Beach race in 2008 in the final year of the Champ Car World Series, a formerly separate open-wheel racing series that was absorbed into the IndyCar series the following year.

The drivers were scheduled to have a second practice session Friday afternoon, and qualifying for the race is Saturday.

Photo: IndyCar driver Will Power of Penske Racing during the first practice for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images.