BALTIMORE — Will Power loves riding the streets of Baltimore, and it's not just because the IndyCar points leader has enjoyed magnificent success at the fledgling venue.
A year ago, Power captured the pole and cruised to victory at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Although the name of the event has changed — it's now the Grand Prix of Baltimore — Power's dominance has not.
Power had the fastest practice lap (90.646 mph) on Friday on the track that runs past Camden Yards and through the heart of Charm City. Rookie Simon Pagenaud came in second despite going airborne upon hitting a bump near the light rail tracks that run parallel to the B&O Warehouse.
Race officials tried to grind down the bump, but that didn't quite work. So chicane will be installed overnight to compensate for the high ground.
"The two together certainly looks like what we needed to get this race going," said Beaux Barfield, IndyCar president of competition.
Power said, "It was the right thing to do. They will make a few more adjustments overnight and we'll be good to go."
Sunday's race will be held on a 2.04-mile, 12-turn street circuit. This year, there will two curves instead of three.
More than 100,000 people showed up last year for the three-day event, and sunny conditions are expected this weekend.
"It's a great venue," Power said. "You can already see it's going to be a big crowd. There's so much to do in the infield. I just can't believe it. I don't see that at many other races. That makes it pretty cool."
A year ago, Power led 70 of 75 laps after winning the pole Saturday. He would love to duplicate that formula this weekend, especially because a dominating performance could clinch him the series points championship.
"It's another point, and it puts you in good position," he said of capturing the pole. "You have less chance of getting involved in something, so it's very important."
GRAND PRIX OF BALTIMORE
2:30 p.m. Sunday, NBCSN