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Andretti on top in Iowa in practice 1

Marco Andretti set the pace early on during the Friday morning practice session, with Josef Newgarden and Alex Tagliani the next fastest men on track.
Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti was fast right from the beginning of the first 45-minute practice session at Iowa Speedway, ultimately topping the timesheets with a lap of 17.4126s (184.832mph).

That put him 0.0332s ahead of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing rookie Josef Newgarden, with Alex Tagliani and Ryan Briscoe close behind and within seven hundredths of a second of Andretti's best time on the 0.875-mile asphalt tri-oval.

The top 20 drivers were all running faster than 2011 pole speed, which was 180.373mph. The gap between first and 24th was only 0.6682s, with only HVM's Simona de Silvestro falling outside the one second margin.

There were no issues or red flags during the 45-minute session, although Scott Dixon lost time in practice with a suspected fuel pump pressure issue. The Ganassi team seemed content that the problem had been resolved and Dixon was able to set the fifth fastest time of the morning.

Practice 1 is the only time the teams have this weekend to run set-up tests without having to worry about qualifying. In a late tweak to the experimental 'heats' format for Iowa that will set the starting grid for Saturday night's race, IndyCar decided not to include practice 1 times in establishing the groups for this evening's three heat races, and will instead take the order at the end of the second 45-minute practice session later today.

The first of the three 30-lap qualifying heats will consist of those cars from tenth position down in the even number positions at the end of practice 2; the order at the end of the 30-lap heat race then sets positions tenth, 12th, 14th etc on the grid for the Iowa Corn Indy 250.

The second heat will consist of those cars in the odd-numbered positions in practice 2 from ninth place down with the order finalising those positions (ninth, 11th, 13th, etc.) on the starting grid., and the third heat will consist of the remaining top eight cars from the practice sessions, and the order at the end of the 30-laps will set the front four rows of the grid for the main race itself.

Earlier in the week, it was confirmed that KV Racing Technology duo Tony Kanaan and EJ Viso would have ten-place starting grid penalties for Iowa wherever they end up qualifying under the one-off system, after both cars needed new Chevrolet engines following last eekend at Milwaukee.

IndyCar has also further modified the aerodynamic rules for Iowa, imposing a maximum rear flap angle of 37 degrees and mandating that no rear wickers or gurney flaps are allowed, which will reduce available downforce by almost a tenth.

Race control have also modified their own internal procedures following the embarrassing gaffe wrongly penalising Scott Dixon last weekend: in future, special camera footage of the starter will be used to synchronise replay footage to ensure there are no further synchronisation issues and that it's clear when a restart has proceeded.

Full practice 1 times available.



Related Pictures

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Marco Andretti #26 Team RC Cola Andretti Autosport 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)
Marco Andretti. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt, LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
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)
Confetti falls on the podium trio Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter celebrate after the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter celebrate after the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon spins during practice (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin sits in his machine prior to practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves in his pit stand following practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in action during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in action during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud crosses the line at Fontana during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power sits in his pit stand prior to practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon streaks across the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon crosses the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon leaves pit lane (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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