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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]
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Rain drops on a space nose cone for Ryan Hunter-Reay`s car (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The #28 Andretti Autosport team celebrates victory (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay gets a new ride (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with the winner`s trophy (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
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)
Ryan Hunter-Reay sits in his car during a rain delay at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay waits on pitlane prior to practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with an early pit stop during the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads Ryan Briscoe (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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