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Dixon fastest on opening day at Indianapolis

Scott Dixon posted the fastest time of the day following two practice sessions on the new road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday.
Full times from practice 1
Full times from practice 2

Scott Dixon was back on top of the timesheets at the end of the first day of practice on the new 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dixon - who topped the times with a lap of 1:11.2128s in last week's full-day open test allowing drivers to familiarise themselves with the redesigned circuit - had been fifth fastest in the morning session which had been headed by KVSH Racing's Sebastien Bourdais.

But in the afternoon the Chip Ganassi Racing #9 set an unbeatable laptime of 1:10.4654s (124.606mph) to pip Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsport) to the top spot by a slender 0.0191s. Will Power was third fastest in the #12 Penske just ahead of Pagenaud's rookie team mate Mikhzil Aleshin who impressed with the fourth fastest time of the afternoon.

Overall it was a very tight field, with 24 of the 25 drivers within a second of Dixon's best lap. The only man outside that margin - and only by a little over a tenth - was Mike Conway, who was once again struggling to find the pace in the Ed Carpenter Racing #20 car this weekend just as he did in the last outing at Barber Motorsports Park.

The times remained skewed toward the Honda camp with the same seven-to-three split of the morning session, although at least this time Chevy cars were first and third while the next fastest non-Honda car was Dixon's team mate Tony Kanaan who was tenth fastest.

Overall the new track continued to get good reviews from the drivers. “It feels like a completely different track from the last time I did the road course here because we didn't go through Turn 1 of the oval,” said Dale Coyne Racing's Justin Wilson, who finished the day with the ninth fastest time over the two sessions.

"The first turn of the road course is a lot tighter than what I remember from 10 years ago so it feels very different," he continued, recollecting racing here on the old road course in the 2003 F1 United States Grand Prix with Jaguar Racing.

"I think this new track is going to be a lot better," was Wilson's opinion of the new configuration. "The corners leading into the back straight give you a lot of options and so does the corner leading into the front straight, so you can definitely try and set something up and the straights are long enough that you can definitely make something happen.

"It's a challenging track, trying to get the power down and get the entries just right," Wilson added. "But I think it's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be really good to race on. It's fun learning what is basically a new track, and I think that's going to make the race interesting as well."

The afternoon session ran without any significant incidents and with no stoppages for red flags. Josef Newgarden and Jack Hawksworth were both docked track time in the second session after being late for the mandatory weigh-in after morning practice. Hawksworth was be penalised three minutes, while Newgarden's session ended six minutes early as a result.

Full times from practice 1
Full times from practice 2

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jack Hawksworth at IMS (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden in pit lane (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud prior to practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in his car (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon at IMS (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden, Penske, IndyCar, Barber Motorsports Park
2016 Indy 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Firestone tyres during Indianapolis test   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]

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