LEEDS, Ala. -- Not all road and street courses are created equal according to Will Power, who set the fastest time in Tuesday's first day of IndyCar open testing at Barber Motorsports Park just outside of Birmingham, Ala.
Power won last year's event at the Park and won three of the first four races of the 2012 season, but was shut out for the remainder of the year and ultimately lost the championship on the final race of the season to Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Power doesn't think testing at Barber will help correct the woes from the places he struggled at last year and called Barber a track unlike any other on the tour. He still thinks it's important to get every bit of seat time in that he can and thinks it will help the team better understand the car as it continues to evolve.
"It's important to test here because we race here," Power said. "It's not really relevant anywhere else because it's a pretty unique track, it's very nice. We'll get as much as we can out of testing here and when we go to St. Pete it's very different. St. Pete is very bumpy and we have different tires too."
Power's fast time on Tuesday (1:07.8625) was roughly two seconds quicker than Helio Castroneves' pole time from last year's Grand Prix of Alabama. While it was much cooler on Tuesday, hovering near 60 degrees, Power expects similar speeds when the Series returns to race in April since they will be allowed to use the softer Firestone red tires.
"I think the work that was done last year and all the engine work with the engine manufacturers (is what contributed to the increase in speeds)", Power said. "And it's a little cooler, which helps the turbo and it helps grip. It's just a very fast situation."
All but one of the 26 cars that practiced on Tuesday bested last year's pole speed. The lone exception was Ana Beatriz and her 1:12.0076. AJ Allmendinger was 16th in his practice debut at Barber.
Complete times can be found below. A photo album from media day and Tuesday's test can be viewed at the top of the page.
- Will Power 01:07.8625
- Helio Castroneves 01:07.9388
- James Hinchcliffe 01:07.9869
- Mike Conway 01:08.1584
- EJ Viso 01:08.2190
- Simona de Silvestro 01:08.2301
- Oriol Servia 01:08.2477
- Scott Dixon 01:08.2543
- Josef Newgarden 01:08.3260
- Simon Pagenaud 01:08.3535
- Ryan Hunter-Reay 01:08.3557
- Marco Andretti 01:08.4123
- Charlie Kimball 01:08.4629
- Alex Tagliani 01:08.4798
- Tony Kanaan 01:08.4940
- AJ Allmendinger 01:08.5098
- JR Hildebrand 01:08.5250
- Tristan Vautier (R) 01:08.5921
- Takuma Sato 01:08.6877
- Justin Wilson 01:08.8208
- Graham Rahal 01:09.0141
- Sebastien Bourdais 01:09.0215
- Dario Franchitti 01:09.0381
- Sebastian Saavedra 01:09.4749
- Ed Carpenter 01:09.7659
- Ana Beatriz 01:12.0076