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Dixon paces opening day at Barber

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon paced the first day of the IndyCar Series' road course open test at Barber Motorsports Park as various teams and drivers put in their final preparations before next month's season-opener on the streets of St Petersburg.

The Kiwi bested a 16-car field with a lap of 1min 10.5005secs around the 15-turn, 2.38-mile circuit, which was familiar only to a handful of drivers who had conducted a tyre test there a couple of years ago.

“The team has done a great job, for sure," Dixon noted, "Both [Target Chip Ganassi Racing] cars have definitely got speed, but it was kind of a strange day. We actually spent most of the time in the truck. We set our time earlier in the day, just before lunch, and, this afternoon, we ran around on old tyres just trying a really extreme set-up, and got out on two laps at the end there.”

If Dixon's name at the top of the times came as little surprise to those who followed his path to the title in 2008, the presence of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing rookie Robert Doornbos will give observers reason to be optimistic for the coming campaign. The Dutchman was second fastest with a lap of 1min 10.6341secs on his first road course outing with NHLR, building on his European road racing background.

“I was very happy to drive on a circuit that I am familiar with, where I can use my experience in setting the car up to my liking and getting to know the team better, because it's a whole new adventure for me," the former F1 and Champ Car pilot admitted, "This morning, we did only ten laps and the gearbox broke, so we had to wait a couple of hours to get it fixed. We just had to stay focused for the afternoon and make the most of it.

"We had a good set-up and we got the car to my liking and did a quick lap time. I think it's very important to make a good first impression, because the team gave me this chance. They know what I can do. They know that I can win races, and I just need to prove it.”

Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan made it three different teams in the top three on the timesheet, taking third ahead of Dixon's new team-mate, IRL returnee Dario Franchitti, while Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who had paced the recent oval test at Homestead, was fifth.

“It was a good day overall," the Australian reported, "We felt good about the car's balance, and we were really solid at the end of the day. We're just getting ready for the first race, and worked on the brake package and some general set-up work. We really focused on what the small set-up changes do to the car.”

Briscoe's Penske team-mate Will Power, NHLR's Graham Rahal, AGR's Marco Andretti, Dixon's former team-mate Dan Wheldon, now with Panther Racing, and the Dale Coyne-mounted Justin Wilson rounded out the top ten, all of which got to within 0.4645secs of Dixon's quickest lap.



Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League. 24-25 Feb. 2009. IRL Homestead Test.  Homestead Internation Raceway. Homestead, Florida. Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal.
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Ed Jones, Carlin, IndyLight [Credit: Ed Jones PR]
Max Chilton, Chip Ganassi, [Credit: Max Chilton PR]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon with a victory kiss from his wife, Emma, following clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, his fourth series championship of his career. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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Hospitalsir - Unregistered

December 06, 2009 10:51 PM

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