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Indy 500: Dixon top as big names move up

Ganassi's Scott Dixon went to the top of the timesheets on Thursday with a lap just over 223mph, with other big names moving forward in readiness for the key Fast Friday test.
With qualifying weekend imminent, the big teams and star drivers were increasingly showing their confidence and their game plans on Thursday in a shortened five-hour Thursday afternoon practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which had to fit around the first runs out on track for Dragon Racing breaking in their brand new Chevrolet engines.

Scott Dixon put the Honda-powered Ganassi at the top of the timesheets for the first time since the practice started last Saturday, with a lap of 223.088mph (40.3428s) once again with the help of a little tow in traffic.

"We're just working on the race car, and I think we've made big improvements on how it feels," said Dixon. "For me, I feel happy because we made the car feel a lot nicer to drive, and especially in traffic it pulls up better, I think.

"These speeds are all big tows, so it doesn't really matter much," he added. "Tomorrow and Saturday are going to be totally different stories to see who's got what out there by themselves, so that will be interesting. But all in all, I think Honda and Team Target are doing pretty well."

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing rookie star Josef Newgarden continued to impress by holding on to second place in the times with a lap of 222.709mph (40.4115s) just 0.0687s off Dixon's best lap.

"We've had a great week, and we just need to continue what we've been doing," said the 21-year-old. "Today we only worked on race setup. We'll start back on qualifying tomorrow when we get the boost. We just picked up today where we left off yesterday and continued working in the race direction."

The Ganassi squad were clearly stepping up a gear and starting to reveal their true pace on Thursday, with all four of their cars in the top ten by the chequered flag: Graham Rahal was in third (222.080mph, 40.5259s), Dario Franchitti eighth (221.344mph, 40.6606s) and Charlie Kimball ninth (221.321mph, 40.6649s).

"A great day," enthused Rahal. "We worked on a couple things we needed to, we found out a lot. We worked on our race cars, and we're pretty happy with it. We're excited to move on and work on some qualifying stuff. Come Sunday, when we get back to race trim, I think we're going to have a good car."

"We had a pretty good car last night, and we tried a lot of different stuff today and managed to make it worse!" admitted Franchitti. "Right at the end there, we made a couple of changes and got it better again. I think we're probably back to where we were last night, which is not a bad place."



Related Pictures

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Katherine Legge (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. LAT Photo (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
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Will Power #12 Verizon Team Penske during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 Dan R. Boyd LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Scott Dixon during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
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Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
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Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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JOHN - Unregistered

May 19, 2012 3:18 AM

Good luck guys but its the race itself - the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing' I'm looking forward to! Hopefully like last year an unexpected winner- tragically sad, its not going to be Dan (Wheldon)



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