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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]
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)
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 Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon - 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion - Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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