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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]
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Briscoe (left), driver of the #8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, talks with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, during qualifying Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Briscoe qualified fourth, Kanaan second and teammate Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 won the pole. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates winning the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The eyes of Scott Dixon look down track prior to practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on course during practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay sits in his car during a rain delay at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)

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