In the midst of their worst season ever, Friday's practice sessions at the Infineon Raceway gave Target Chip Ganassi Racing a rare moment in the spotlight as rookie Ryan Briscoe led the combined practice charts for the IRL's first proper road course event.

TCGR drivers dominated the speed charts with Scott Dixon fourth fastest and IRL debutant Giorgio Pantano an outstanding fifth.

Briscoe posted a lap of 1 minute, 16.5744 seconds in the #33 Panoz-Toyota-powered. The Australian's time was slightly faster than double Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who recorded a lap of 1:16.6157secs in his #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Toyota. Briscoe earned the right to determine the order for Marlboro Pole Qualifying on Saturday.

2004 IRL IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan was third-quickest at 1:16.6585secs in his #11 Andretti-Green Racing Dallara-Honda with Briscoe's teammates Dixon and Pantano were fourth and fifth respectively.

The three teams represented in the top five actually dominated the entire top ten, with Kanaan's AGR teammates Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta and Dan Wheldon sixth, seventh and eighth overall and Castroneves' teammate Sam Hornish Jr ninth.

Rahal-Letterman Racing, Panther Racing and Fernandez Racing all failed to crack the top ten with Rahal's Buddy Rice eleventh, Vitor Meira 12th and Panther's Tomas Enge only 13th. Rookie Danica Patrick also failed to set the timing screens alight with a disappointing 19th fastest time.

Only 21 cars will be present this weekend with Hemelgarn Racing electing to miss the event and no third Panther entry for Buddy Lazier.

 

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