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DATE News (chronologically)
02/24/09
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Scott Dixon tops Ryan Briscoe on Day 1  It wasn't Will Power's choice to sit out the initial 90 minutes of the IndyCar Series Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

No, his preference would have been to drive the No. 3 Team Penske car while the sun hung high above the first-turn tower of suites until being asked to turn off the track lights on the way out. When you're designation is test driver, pry the wheel from my hands is the reaction.

Teammate Ryan Briscoe shook down the car before turning it over to Power for his initial laps on the oval with the team, which called him out of the bullpen in mid-January as regular driver Helio Castroneves' federal court proceedings draw nearer. Power doesn't find the situation uncomfortable, though he did acknowledge it's still a bit odd to be wearing the signature red & white firesuit.

"I feel comfortable in what I'm doing, which is testing. I'm not really looking that far ahead," said Power, who recorded five top-10 finishes in 16 races with KV Racing Technology's 2008 entry into the series. "I'm looking forward to many laps on the track because the ovals are where I struggled last year (two top 10s). These (Penske) guys have a tremendous amount of experience and Ryan is very good on ovals, so I'll really be learning as much as I can. I'm just happy to be working with a very good team."

Power turned 115 laps on the first day of testing with a quick lap of 25.4404 seconds (210.138 mph; fifth on the speed chart). In total, 20 drivers (including four past series champions, nine race winners and four rookies) totaled 2,088 laps over four hours.

"The day went well. It was just getting back into the groove," Power said.

Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon, the 2005 IndyCar Series champion, was attending the fourth National Guard Youth Foundation's ChalleNGe Champions Gala in Washington, D.C., but is expected to be on the track for the second session (5-10 p.m. ET; follow the action on indycar.com). Twenty-one cars will be the most participating in an Open Test since 2002 at California Speedway.

Briscoe (25.3614 seconds; 210.793 mph) in the No. 6 car was second on the speed chart to Scott Dixon (25.2919; 211.372), who started his run to the '08 series championship with a victory at Homestead.

For the immediate future, Team Vegemite (both Aussie drivers are fond of the brown food paste made from yeast extract) is focused on this initial test - working out any potential issues with the cars and on ovals in general - with an eye on the season opener April 5 up I-75 in St. Petersburg.

"(Castroneves' situation) is something we have to deal with and I think Will and I get along well and we'll work on gelling as teammates as we move forward," said Briscoe, who posted victories at Milwaukee and Mid-Ohio among 11 top-10 finishes in '08. "As with any teammate I've ever had, you want to build that chemistry. I think it really helps each driver and the team as a whole. Still, we have our fingers crossed for Helio."

Dixon recorded 100 laps in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, while new teammate Dario Franchitti (25.3842; 210.603) was third overall.

"We're pretty pleased with the results so far," Dixon said. "A lot of our focus was making the car better on older tires. Balance was another thing we spent quite a bit of time on. Overall, we're just trying to pick up where the team left off at the end of last season and start the year off on the right foot."

Mario Moraes, who moved from Dale Coyne Racing to KV Racing Technology for his sophomore season, impressed everyone by placing fourth with a quick lap of 25.4389 seconds (210.138 mph).

"I think it went well and I felt comfortable with the No. 5 car and will come back tomorrow to try out other setups and to learn more about the car," he said.

Among the rookies, Robert Doornbos was seventh overall in the No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing car (25.5077; 209.584) in his first official oval action. Raphael Matos, the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights champion who has stepped into the No. 12 Luczo Dragon Racing car, posted a quick lap of 25.6165 seconds (208.694 mph).

"We learned a lot and the whole crew did a really good job," Matos said. "I am still getting used to (engineer) Ray (Leto) and he's getting used to me. Developing our communication is key. We have lots of room for improvement and that's a good thing. We really are close, not far off at all."

Mike Conway, also getting his first taste of driving in traffic on an oval for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, checked in with a best lap of 25.6319 seconds (208.568). He led the field with 157 laps. Stanton Barrett, participating in his first Open Test with Team 3G, had a quick lap of 25.9724 seconds (205.834 mph).

Results

Rank

Car Driver Name Time Speed Diff Gap Best Lap Total Laps
1 9 Dixon, Scott 00:25.2919 211.372 --.---- --.---- 49 100
2 6 Briscoe, Ryan 00:25.3614 210.793 0.0695 0.0695 36 105
3 10 Franchitti, Dario 00:25.3842 210.603 0.0923 0.0228 62 92
4 5 Moraes, Mario 00:25.4389 210.151 0.1470 0.0547 92 119
5 3 Power, Will 00:25.4404 210.138 0.1485 0.0015 100 115
6 26 Andretti, Marco 00:25.4940 209.696 0.2021 0.0536 44 88
7 06 Doornbos, Robert (R) 00:25.5077 209.584 0.2158 0.0137 56 131
8 3 Briscoe, Ryan 00:25.5479 209.254 0.2560 0.0402 14 14
9 11 Kanaan, Tony 00:25.5707 209.067 0.2788 0.0228 49 77
10 02 Rahal, Graham 00:25.6032 208.802 0.3113 0.0325 90 117
11 7 Patrick, Danica 00:25.6133 208.720 0.3214 0.0101 7 91
12 12 Matos, Raphael (R) 00:25.6165 208.694 0.3246 0.0032 56 140
13 20 Carpenter, Ed 00:25.6192 208.672 0.3273 0.0027 85 125
14 13 Viso, EJ 00:25.6235 208.637 0.3316 0.0043 34 48
15 24 Conway, Mike (R) 00:25.6319 208.568 0.3400 0.0084 129 157
16 27 Mutoh, Hideki 00:25.6984 208.029 0.4065 0.0665 28 98
17 23 Duno, Milka 00:25.7759 207.403 0.4840 0.0775 73 123
18 34 Camara, Jaime 00:25.7790 207.378 0.4871 0.0031 40 62
19 14 Meira, Vitor 00:25.8032 207.184 0.5113 0.0242 63 79
20 18 Wilson, Justin 00:25.8457 206.843 0.5538 0.0425 109 120
21 98 Barrett, Stanton (R) 00:25.9724 205.834 0.6805 0.1267 52 87

IndyCar.com

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