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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]
Will Power in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in action during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand prior to practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay enters Turn 10 during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday April 17 2015. (Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a seventh-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a sixth-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a fifth-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a second-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud berates Ryan Hunter-Reay after their crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais crash in turn 3 near the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on Sunday April 12 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 attempts to qualify in the rain Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Marco Andretti waits for the rain to stop for qualifying at NOLA Motorsports Park. Saturday April 11 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Stormy conditions for Will Power during second practice for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park. Friday April 10 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power sits in his Chevrolet machine prior to practice for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park. Friday April 10 2015. (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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