Mid-Ohio: Dixon tops opening IndyCar practice
Two-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon topped a 60-minute practice session as IndyCar Series teams began preparations for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Dixon recorded a lap of 1:08.2298 (119.139 mph) in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. Justin Wilson, the winner at Watkins Glen International, was second (1:08.6425) in the No. 18 Z-Line Designs car for Dale Coyne Racing and Dario Franchitti (1:08.6760) was third in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry.
Tony Kanaan was fourth (1:08.8390) and Graham Rahal (1:08.9932) was fifth in the No. 02 McDonald's car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.
PEAK Performance Pole Qualifying for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance and practice and qualifying for the Firestone Indy Lights' Mid-Ohio 100 is scheduled for Aug. 8.
||Driver (Car No.)
||Scott Dixon (9)
||Justin Wilson (18)
||Dario Franchitti (10)
||Tony Kanaan (11)
||Graham Rahal (02)
||Paul Tracy (5)
||Ryan Briscoe (6)
||Marco Andretti (26)
||Raphael Matos (2)
||EJ Viso (13)
||Oriol Servia (06)
||Helio Castroneves (3)
||Ryan Hunter-Reay (14)
||Danica Patrick (7)
||Robert Doornbos (33)
||Hideki Mutoh (27)
||Ed Carpenter (20)
||Dan Wheldon (4)
||Mike Conway (24)
||Richard Antinucci (98)
||Milka Duno (23)
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, fastest of the day): I think more of it is a credit to that we tested here. Both cars were quick obviously. We waited for the track to grip up a little bit. At the test, we had the same issue. From the start of the test to the end was almost four seconds difference. We had a pretty good balance. It seemed quite good. The track is pretty inconsistent in some areas but, it's a good way to start. I think a lot of it is credited to the test. We just found a few things that make the car a little bit better but it's in the early days here. Anything can change tomorrow. (About strategy for practice session before qualifying): "I think the same. Obviously, just try to be as quick as possible. Tomorrow I think weather-wise it might be a little bit different. We might have some rain. That changes everything for qualifying then as well. Every session that we run, we're just going to try and be as quick as possible."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Z-Line Designs, second-fastest): "The track was really slippery to start with and we had to make a lot of changes early on to get the car to work on this low-grip surface. It posed quite a challenge. I'm really pleased; Dale Coyne Racing got right on top of it. They were able to turn the car around and be really quick. I know the pace is going to pick up more, so we're just trying to make the most of it. Hopefully we'll have another good weekend and I'm going to be pushing to get our second win.
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, third-fastest): "They've done something with a sealer or something on the track and the track has very, very low grip. You can see that with the ALMS cars as well, how slow they were relative to their performance last year and the same with Indy car. It's just very, very low grip. We're just waiting for people to rubber in the track a little bit. We made a fairly lengthy change after my first run and that didn't leave us much time. We're getting there. We kind of bracketed it. We had too much oversteer one run and too much understeer the other run. When we get it sorted, I think we'll be in good shape." (About strategy for qualifying): "You've got to be on it. With the split groups, that's going to be the hardest part is the split groups at the start (and) when to use the Firestone reds and just getting a good, clean lap on the limit."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "The track was not very fast today, so we waited for a good portion of the session before we went out. The Team Penske car looks good and I feel like we are on the right track. I don't think we will be doing any big changes going into tomorrow. I am looking forward to trying the push to pass option in warm-up on Sunday as I think it will add another element of excitement to the racing. I always like competing at Mid-Ohio and I am excited for a good weekend."
PAUL TRACY (No. 5 Azul Tequila/Votorantim/KVRT): "First of all, my heart goes out to the entire Moraes family for their loss. I want to thank Mario and KV Racing Technology for this opportunity. This is not the way any driver wants to get back in the car, but I am going to use this opportunity to dedicate the weekend to the Moraes family. (About practice): "I am really happy with the way the day went for the Azul/Votorantim/KV Racing Technology team. I haven't driven here since 2003, but the track came back to me right away and the team did a great job. I just hope Mario and his family are doing well. The entire team is here to do the best we can, and hopefully get a great result this weekend for him and his family."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "We were able to take a couple short runs this afternoon, but unfortunately, we got stuck behind traffic. The Team Penske car felt good out there, and I think we'll be fine for the rest of the weekend. We just need to get some clean laps tomorrow morning to see exactly where we sit."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team): "It's always nice to come back to Mid-Ohio. The track is a lot of fun. The McDonald's car was getting progressively better there at the end. We were getting pretty close, and I'm definitely happy with that. If we had a little bit newer tires, like some of those guys had on there at the end, we would have been looking pretty darn good. It's always nice to be here, and it's nice not to have to travel far to get to the track. It's relaxing here and there is a lot of fan support and that's always exciting for me."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing): "It was fun and challenging, honestly, to get back in a car on a road course. You want to get things done quickly and get used to the car and get a feel for the car, and we did that. The team gave me great car that was fast right away. The car was faster than me, but I will get there. I was happy with how everything felt, and I just have to get used to it to be able to get the best out of it because this is a track where every little thing counts at the end."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "It was a good day. I think the test here helped us a lot. The track was really dirty so it's hard to judge. Tomorrow is definitely going to be a different day with all the cars running yet tonight and in the morning, but I'm pleased. It's been a while since we've been in the top-five in the first session on a road course, so it feels good."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Meijer): "Not a bad way to start the weekend for the Meijer boys. We definitely gained some good information when we tested here a couple weeks ago and I think that showed today. Hopefully we can use today's practice notes and put them to use them for a strong result for the #26 car this weekend."
E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA/HVM Racing): "We had a very clean and smooth session. Things went pretty well. We did improve the car. We went in different directions for setup and at the end, we had an idea, given the track situation. We did a pretty good lap time. We still have some more in our pocket. We're pretty happy. It should be a great weekend for us."
Robert DOORNBOS (No. 33 HVM Racing): "First of all, I'm happy to be back working with the people here at HVM, a lot of familiar faces. I'm also getting to know my crew and it's the first time that I've been to Mid-Ohio, so I was learning the track. We obviously have some work to do, but I think it was a solid first day. I'd like to thank the team for all the effort they've done the last few days to prepare the car. We just need to work on it, step by step, and I think we're going to have a good weekend.