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Simon Pagenaud leads in practice runs at Grand Prix of Houston

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With two practice runs completed for IndyCars on Friday, June 27, 2014 at the Grand Prix of Houston, three drivers jumped out to set the pace when qualifying occurs on Saturday June 28 on the grounds of NRG Stadium

Simon Pagenaud, driving the number 77 car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, led all drivers in the practice sessions, recording the best one-lap time of 1:00.1415 in the second practice session.

The Montmorillon, France native, driving a Honda on Firestone tires, achieved a top speed of 97.809 miles-per-hour with a 46-lap total.

He will be the top seed overall and in Group 2 of qualifying on Saturday.

Will Power, who was driving a Chevy on Firestone tires recorded the second-best lap time of 1:00.4427 in a total of 48 practice laps.

Power, who is from Toowoomba, Australia and drives the number 12 car for Team Penske, will be the top send in Group 1 qualifying.

Fellow Australian Ryan Briscoe (NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing) had the third fastest one-lap time in practice, recording a 1:00.6468 in 46 laps and achieving a top seed of 97.001 mph.

IndyCar drivers will have qualifying from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, June 28 for their first race at 2-5 p.m. later that day.

They will also have qualifying on Sunday, June 29 from 10-11 a.m. for race two later Sunday afternoon.

Twenty-three teams are entered in the IndyCar Series at the Grand Prix of Houston, including 2013 Race 2 winner Scott Dixon and 2006 and 2007 champion Sebastian Bourdais.

Power currently leads all drivers, with 370 points, in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series point standings.

He is followed by Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) with 331 point and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) with 310 points.

Fourth place is held by Pagenaud (279 points) with Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) rounding out the top five with 235 points.