Ganassi started strong at Iowa Speedway on Friday in the first of two practice sessions for this weekend's Iowa Corn 300.

Tony Kanaan topped the times with a lap of 179.218mph (17.9580s) on the seven-eighths of a mile oval, putting him 0.0105s ahead of his team mate Scott Dixon. However both men were nonetheless some way off Dixon's 20145 pole-winning pace at Iowa of 186.256mph.

CLICK: Full practice 1 times from Iowa Speedway

The third full-time member of the Ganassi line-up, Charlie Kimball, opened his account at Iowa with the fourth fastest time of the session, just a tenth slower than his team mates.

Just stopping a 1-2-3 Ganassi sweep at the top was Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay, last year's race winner at Iowa. The 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion was the highest-placed of the Honda contenders in Friday's first 45-minute track session.

That made Hunter-Reay very much the exception to the rule, however, with no other Honda runner in the top ten when the chequered flag came out. Last year's race runner-up Josef Newgarden (CFH Racing) was fifth fastest followed by current championship points leader Juan Pablo Montoya in the #2 Penske, with last week's race winner Sebastien Bourdais seventh fastest for KVSH Racing.

Rounding out the top ten in the first practice were Helio Castroneves (Penske), Ed Carpenter (CFH Racing) and Simon Pagenaud (Penske).

Hunter-Reay's team mate Carlos Munoz was the next-fastest Honda in 11th place, 0.5458s away from Kanaan's top time of the session. He was just fractionally faster than Ganassi's rookie part-time driver Sage Karam in the #8 car that he shares with Sebastian Saavedra.

In total, 23 of the 24 drivers participating in this week's race were within one second of Kanaan's benchmark time. The one exception to the rule was Dale Coyne Racing's Pippa Mann, and she only missed the mark by 0.0197s showing that the running is expected to be very tight this weekend.

KV's Stefano Coletti ran the most laps of any one with 63 completed circuits, but the Monaco-born driver is still relatively new to oval racing and was 0.3757s slower than his team mate Bourdais in 18th place.

Conditions for the first practice at 3pm local time were blisteringly hot and into the 90s Fahrenheit, but there were no incidents and only two brief interruptions for track inspection and clean-up.

The second practice will be held in the slightly cooler conditions of early evening, getting underway at 6pm, and will be more representative of race pace.

"The second practice will be more of an indicator of what we'll face the next night," agreed Hunter-Reay, who is a two-time winner on what is the shortest track on the calendar. "I know what I want from the car and I know what it feels like on old tires and I know what it feels like on new tyres.

"I know how it needs to feel in traffic, so I know the target. Working to get it that way with the set-up is the hard part," he added. "It's one where you have to have the car right in that perfect window to get it all right all the way through the stints from the beginning of tyres till the end."

After that, the drivers and teams will be straight into qualifying on Saturday afternoon at 3pm (9pm BST) which will take the form of single car time trials with each car completing two laps apiece and their starting grid position set according to the average speed and aggregate time.

The 300-laps, 268.2-mile Iowa Corn 300 gets underway later the same evening just before dusk at 7.50pm (1.50am BST).

See full practice 1 times from Iowa Speedway



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