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Danica tops Thursday practice times

Danica Patrick started her final weekend in the IZOD IndyCar Series by topping the Thursday practice times at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ahead of the season finale on Sunday.
Andretti Autosport's Danica Patrick might be bidding farewell to IndyCar after this weekend, but she seems determined to do it in style before her move to NASCAR Nationwide Series full-time in 2012.

Her laptime of 24.7349s set late in the day on the 1.544-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval amounted to 224.719mph, which by anyone's standards was very quick indeed.

"It's friggin' fast here, almost a 225 lap is like Indy speeds," Patrick agreed after the end of the session. "The track is nice and smooth and we'll be three-wide out there, which will be exciting. The race is going to be crazy and the crashes will be spectacular. Nothing would let me turn the page better than winning here."

"Yeah, you could tell with Danica and I talking, it's so fast - it's just so fast and so close to each other, it's exciting," agreed Newman/Haas' Oriol Servia, who finished second in the times. "The fans are going to get a good show. It's kind of crazy. It's great that the track is smooth, you can be consistent and try to keep your car in line and follow the car in front when you're three wide.

"There's really no room for error. It's exciting, I'm sure on TV and that the fans here will have a great show," he added.

Patrick's team mate Ryan Hunter-Reay was third fastest in what turned out to be one of Andretti Autosport's strongest overall term performances of the year in a weekend session, with Mike Conway in fifth and Marco Andretti seventh fastest.

"We ran pretty well as a team. I think we have great race cars," said Hunter-Reay. "It's going to be hot and it's going to intense for 200 laps."

"It is going to be a crazy race on Sunday. This place is fast," agreed Conway. "We'll see how things go in Friday's practice and qualifying."

Scott Dixon finished the Thursday times in fourth place, while his team mate Dario Franchitti - who will be fighting it out on Sunday with Will Power for the championship - was ninth. Neither of the Ganassi drivers was particularly happy with the way the day had gone, however.

"I think it was a pretty marginal start to the weekend for us, really," said a nonplussed Dixon. "We made a lot of changes to both cars but nothing really changed where we were at on the time sheets. We'll go back and discuss it and see what we can come up with for qualifying."




Related Pictures

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Danica Patrick speaks to the press after setting the fastest time in Thursday practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 2011 season finale. [Picture credit: Bret Kelley 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)
Will Power apexes the Turn 9/9A chicane during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power leads the field to the green to start the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power exits the Turn 9A chicane complex during qualifications for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Sam Cobb/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power celebrates after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power being interviewed after winning the pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Penske`s Will Power during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay reviews telemetry data in his pit stand during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay apexes the Turn 9A chicane during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay sits in his Andretti Autosport Honda on pit lane prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia is strapped into his Andretti Autosport Honda prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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pukka - Unregistered

October 14, 2011 3:56 AM

zzzzz... wuh, wuh, she win anything....zzzz wuh wuh, we are getting excited over whut, practice times... zzzzzz nascrap.... immortal Japan win....zzzzz nothing to see here, ever....zzzzz

chasmunch

October 15, 2011 3:34 PM

....she's gonna get tired of hangin' onto those Noncars and going round in circle at all those old, little southern race tracks... ....and trying to jockey those rigs around Watkin's Glen when 10 other young studs want the spot you're lookin at... ....sorry, but she better get to the weight room and don't skip the big breakfast at Denny's ...if she can ever be as fast and at the front as much as she is in IndyCar, she will be doin somthin ....I think she's a mid pack performer at Nascar...it's that pretty faced long haired persona, along w/ the sponsorship money that has the nascar principals all gaga anyway, not her talent ....it's gonna be fun to see the "boys" break her in to the racers rules of the track...all enclosed within their near bomb proof seats, fear isn't as big a factor as an open cockpit... ....look at how long it took Juan Pablo to find his place...and I dare say he's a bigger driving talent than Danica ...and ya just know she's gonna piss a few people off...will be fu



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