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Helio Castroneves fastest on 1st day of practice at Barber

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    Will Power, of Australia, gets ready to take a few laps during practice for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama auto race in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday, April 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) (The Associated Press)

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    Driver Dario Franchitti, of Scotland, reflected in a a rear view mirror, sits in his car on pit road during practice for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama auto race in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday, April 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) (The Associated Press)

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    Driver AJ Allmendinger takes a turn during practice for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama auto race in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday, April 5, 2013. Allmendinger is preparing for his first IndyCar race after making the transition back to open-wheel racing from NASCAR. (AP Photo/AL.com, Frank Couch) MAGS OUT (The Associated Press)

Helio Castroneves paced the first day of IndyCar practice at Barber Motorsports Park, setting the stage for what could be more domination by Penske Racing.

Castroneves ran a 1:08.5540 around the 17-turn, 2.38-mile permanent road course on Friday in his Penske Chevrolet. Castroneves won the inaugural race at Barber in 2010, and teammate Will Power is the two-time defending champion.

Alex Tagliani was second fastest in his Bryan Herta Autosports Honda, followed by rookie Tristan Vautier of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports. Vautier was fastest in Friday's first session despite going off course.

Simon Pagenaud was fourth to give Schmidt two cars in the top five, and put three Honda's in the top five.

Power was fifth, and AJ Allmendinger, who will make his IndyCar debut on Sunday, was eighth.