Watkins Glen: Dixon tops practice 2 Scott Dixon didn’t hold anything back as the IndyCar Series began preparations for Sunday’s Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen. The winner of all three previous IndyCar Series events at Watkins Glen International topped the speed chart as 26 drivers participated in 2 ½ hours of practice on the 11-turn, 3.37 mile circuit.
Dixon, who has won at The Glen from second and fourth twice, recorded a best lap of 1 minute, 30.1947 seconds, 134.509 mph in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing machine.
Helio Castroneves, who has won all three PEAK Motor Oil Pole Awards at Watkins Glen, was second fastest with a best lap of 134.368 mph.
Dixon’s teammate Dan Wheldon was third, Panther Racing’s Vitor Meira was fourth and KV Racing Technology’s Will Power was fifth.
Dixon and Castroneves are first and second, respectively, in the IndyCar Series point standings.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, fastest): “I don’t know if I want to sit on the pole; I’ve never sat on the pole (at Watkins Glen). Helio has had some pretty bad luck sitting on the pole out there. But, we’re going to go as fast as we can and see if we can. Years previously we missed it. I guess I’m happy with how we did in qualifying, but I think we focus on that a little bit more this year. Especially on a road course with the competition we have this year, so if you can make a spot up on qualifying it’s definitely going to make your day a lot easier. I’d like to think we have a car that could be on the pole, and I’d like to think we’ve got a pretty set race car.” (About pressure to win for the fourth consecutive year) “I think I’m always one who thinks that pressure is what you put on yourself, to be honest. A lot of people might talk about going for four in a row, an d before they talked about going for three in a row. Three in a row is quite a long shot and four is even more of a long shot. So it’s definitely a race, and the next three we’re going to are races that we’ve done well at in the past. It’s definitely easier to come to tracks like this where you’ve done well before. I think we just take this as a different race; we’re in a different year. It’s all about points now, and we want as many points as possible. If we are lucky enough to come away with four in a row, I’m going to be pretty happy with that.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, second): “It was very good. We were having some issues, but the good news is we have a lot of information. We keep trying some little things, so it’s good that we have this time for practice. It’s extremely important that we’re used to the track, that we know the place, and that we have a little bit of extra time in a place like this. Plus the Firestone tires are really, really good. We were able to keep the same set of tires through the whole practice, so it seems that won’t be an issue here. I think my car has a little more. I have a lot more – I’m pretty confident. The track was getting better toward the end, but I do feel it’s going to be a great battle tomorrow.”
VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi National Guard, fourth): “Our car is great right now. It’s quick and handles well out there. Today it felt like every change the Delphi National Guard team made was a good one. The Panther car is always good here, and it looks like that will be the case again this weekend. There is still work to do before qualifications, but it’s a great start to the Fourth of July weekend. I want to get a good result here for all the soldiers and our friends at Delphi who are here this weekend.”
WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia, fifth): “Overall it was a good day for KVRT Aussie Vineyards–Team Australia. We got a lot more out of the second session than the first in terms of track time. We had a lot fewer problems in the afternoon. We have some things to think about overnight, but I think the biggest thing for me is getting track time so I can learn the limits of the car on this circuit. We have another practice session tomorrow to fine tune the car, and hopefully we can qualify in the Firestone Fast Six and go on from there.”
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, third): “I'm pretty pleased with what we were able to accomplish thus far. It was good to lead the first session and get off to that kind of start. You have to have a car that can overtake quickly at Watkins Glen, and especially with this many cars here this weekend. There will be more than a few cars going off sequence Sunday, so we think we have a good baseline setup to go off of for qualifying tomorrow.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, sixth): “We're not very happy right now. The good thing is that we've been able to put up good times in the Team 7-Eleven car even though we get into traffic every time we go out. We'll work on it tonight and hopefully be better tomorrow.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team, seventh): “We made some gains today and were able to make the McDonald’s car go progressively faster. What is really nice is that everything we thought would work has worked so far, and I’m quite confident about the next step, too. I’m looking forward to getting out tomorrow, and hopefully we can be even quicker. It’s great to be back on a road course. It’s such a fantastic road course, as well. You go through so many corners, and you can feel the grip coming up. Last weekend it felt like we were driving around Richmond on wet tires with zero grip, and to come here where the grip level is so high and so fast is great. It’s a nice feeling having the car grab hold and take you around the corner like that. The race is going to be tough, but they all seem to be tough so far. It will be physically tough and tough to stay hydrated with the heat and also because the steering is heavy. You’ve got to carry a lot of speed on these corners. Every fraction of a mile an hour you can carry pays off big time. In the race, that is going to get quite demanding. I’m looking forward to it.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, eighth): “I really love the track out here, so it's great to be back at Watkins Glen. We tried a lot of things today, and I think we learned quite a bit. We focused mostly on our race setup and the consistency of the Team Penske car. I think we're in good shape so far this weekend, and we should definitely be competitive during qualifying tomorrow.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Oso*fresh, 10th): “We're not having fun yet. We have a lot of work to do. The time can come, but the lap has to be perfect. We're having to work too hard for it right now, which isn't good. We still have work to do to get the Oso*fresh car where we needs it to be.”
||Scott Dixon (9)
||Helio Castroneves (3)
||Vitor Meira (4)
||Will Power (8)
||Tony Kanaan (11)
||Justin Wilson (02)
||Dan Wheldon (10)
||Ryan Briscoe (6)
||Bruno Junqueira (18)
||Marco Andretti (26)
||Oriol Servia (5)
||Graham Rahal (06)
||Darren Manning (14)
||Buddy Rice (15)
||Mario Moraes (19)
||Danica Patrick (7)
||Hideki Mutoh (27)
||Ryan Hunter-Reay (17)
||Enrique Bernoldi (36)
||EJ Viso (33)
||Mario Dominguez (96)
||A.J. Foyt IV (2)
||Ed Carpenter (20)
||Jay Howard (24)
||Jaime Camara (34)
||Milka Duno (23)