Dixon flies in Mid-Ohio Friday practice

Scott Dixon uncorked a lap that was nine-tenths of a second quicker than anyone else, easily enough to secure the fastest time in the Friday practice session for this weekend's IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Dixon's lap at 1:08.2298...

Scott Dixon uncorked a lap that was nine-tenths of a second quicker than anyone else, easily enough to secure the fastest time in the Friday practice session for this weekend's IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Dixon's lap at 1:08.2298 beat the previous best time of 1:09.1440 set by Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske. By the end of the session, five drivers were under the 1:09 mark but Dixon was the first. Briscoe wound up seventh in the session.

Dixon and Dario Franchitti, the teammates at Target Chip Ganassi Racing sandwiched Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing, continuing his road course pace. Dixon was four-tenths quicker than Wilson, who jumped to second right at the end of the one-hour session.

"You can tell what's coming with segment times on the dash, but I don't think we were expecting that it was close to what we did at the test," Dixon said. "You like it when you see numbers like that!"

A number of teams waited for the track to rubber in before testing the surface. Some sealant that has been added to the track surface has changed the way the track handles, and that was precisely why the Ganassi duo and the pilots from Team Penske waited to set a time.

"The track recently went through a lot of changes, putting sealant down, and it takes a long time to put the rubber down," Dixon explained. "When you go out early, you waste a set of tires and rubber up the track for everyone else."

For a majority of the session the Andretti Green Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti topped the timesheets. It's been an uphill struggle for the team on the road and street courses this year, but for most of today they had the setup figured out.

Kanaan and Andretti finished fourth and eighth on the timesheets. After the front four, hometown favorite Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio completed the top five, with Paul Tracy, Briscoe, Andretti, Raphael Matos and E.J. Viso in the top ten.

Tracy was a late addition to the field this weekend, as he rejoins KV Racing Technology on a somber note. The team's regular driver Mario Moraes is home in Brazil with family as his father, Mario Ermirio de Moraes, passed away Wednesday at the age of 50 from cancer.

"On behalf of the entire KV Racing Technology organisation, we wish to express our deepest sympathy to Senhora Nidia Maria Faustino de Moraes, Mario, his sisters Fabiana and Natalia and the entire family for their loss," said a statement released by KV Racing co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser.

Of the others making the switch in seats this weekend, Oriol Servia finished 11th for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, and his predecessor at the team Robert Doornbos was 15th for HVM.

Mike Conway and Richard Antinucci went to the garage early with mechanical problems but returned before the session was out. Each was still quicker than Milka Duno, 21st and last in the field, but those three rounded out the field.

Duno and Danica Patrick had a near repeat of their pit lane dustup a year ago. Patrick, who finished 14th in this session, was attempting a pass on Duno into the Keyhole (turn 2) when she had to swerve right to avoid her counterpart. No-one was harmed, no contact was made and no towels were thrown.

Patrick wasn't the only AGR car who went off line at some point in the session. Kanaan looped his #11 entry at turn 6 but continued with incident, and Hideki Mutoh spun at the Carousel (turn 13) to bring out a session stoppage. Mutoh finished 16th on the timesheets.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Milka Duno , Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Oriol Servia , Graham Rahal , Robert Doornbos , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Richard Antinucci , Chip Ganassi , Mike Conway , Kevin Kalkhoven , Hideki Mutoh , Dale Coyne , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , KV Racing Technology , Dale Coyne Racing