The 2012 Baltimore Grand Prix zoomed off to a strong start with a few practice runs on Friday Aug. 31 and several American Le Mans Series races presented by Tequila Patron Racing on Sept. 1 in the Inner Harbor area of downtown Baltimore, Md.

The Baltimore Sports Car Challenge, one of the American Le Mans Series races on Sept.1, was captured by Christopher Bouchut of Level 5 Motorsports, while fellow Level 5 Motorsports driver Scott Tucker finished just behind Bouchut for second place. Bouchut drove car No. 55, a Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototype car, to victory.

The IndyCar Series penultimate race qualifications were also held on Sept. 1 as Australian driver Will Power, who won the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix IndyCar Series race last year, won the pole position for this year’s race with impressive driving in the qualification heats. Power, a driver for Team Penske, won the pole position with a lap time of 17.9750 seconds, making him the favorite to win the race again this year.

“It’s important to get the pole; it’s another point,” Power told the media after the qualifications. “It gives us the best potential at the start, and we can control our destiny.”

Friday’s practice runs came with their own excitement. Baltimore Grand Prix personnel made alterations to the track after some cars went airborne off the track during the front straight away of the track; track officials set up a tire barrier to form a chicane (a man-made turn) in that area to slow down drivers from speeding too fast and causing more accidents.

According to reports, some drivers have complained about the chicane, but officials are keeping it because the street track would be too dangerous with too many straightaways and not enough turns.

The IndyCar Series penultimate race is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 2.