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Franchitti tops practice as Power struggles

Dario Franchitti topped both of the extended Thursday practice sessions at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, while Will Power struggled and Pippa Mann crashed in the afternoon.
Dario Franchitti looked firmly in command of Thursday's practice sessions as IndyCar returned to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for the first time since 1998.

His best time of the day of 21.5665s was just over a tenth of a second off the IndyCar track record set by Andre Ribeiro (now Ana Beatriz's manager) in 1995, even though he maintained that setting fast times hadn't been the priority of the day.

"My first order of business today was to learn the track and the first run felt good," he said. "It is definitely a lot easier to learn a place when the car is doing what you want it to. We worked on the car all day just trying to change some bits and pieces and improve. It was very difficult to find those small gains, but we did reach our goal by the end of the day."

Franchitti led a Ganassi 1-2-3, with Scott Dixon finishing just 0.0539s off his team mate's top time and Graham Rahal in third place. "The car felt good today," Dixon said afterwards. "We struggled at the beginning of the day with a few set-up changes we had to go through."

Marco Andretti had been second fastest in the two and a half hour morning session, but was one of the few drivers not to improve his time in the three hour afternoon session. "The Snapple car was fast this morning but we went the wrong way with some changes this afternoon and lost some speed," he admitted. "I think the track is going to be fun, we just have to get a handle on it."

The KV Racing Technology team was eye-catchingly fast in both sessions and finished with an impressive 4-5-6 lockout behind Ganassi following the afternoon session, with Tony Kanaan showing Takuma Sato and EJ Viso the way.

"We were fast right away and kept improving the car during the afternoon run," said an energised Kanaan. "I think that there are some minor tweaks that we can try on Saturday before qualifying to see if we can get the car a little bit faster, but overall I'm happy with how the day went."

"This track is quite unique, but we were up to speed very quickly and worked on various things," said Sato. "We ran a lot of miles and I learned a lot ... It was a very productive day."

Less happy was the Penske stable which had a subdued day, Ryan Briscoe topping out in 12th place ahead of Helio Castroneves in 16th and title contender Will Power struggling down in 19th in the 27-car field.




Related Pictures

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Marco Andretti on track during IndyCar`s first visit to the one mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti on track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Pippa Mann in the cockpit of the #30 Rahal Letterman Racing car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Pippa Mann on track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti in the pits between runs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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