Dixon tops Indy 500 first all-skate speedchart

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Dixon tops Indy 500 first all-skate speedchart

Scott Dixon set the fastest lap of the day at 226.549 mph while Helio Castroneves' best from Sunday (227.036) still stands at the best of the event. Dixon's lap today is his best thus far over three practice days. All drivers atop the speed...

Scott Dixon set the fastest lap of the day at 226.549 mph while Helio Castroneves' best from Sunday (227.036) still stands at the best of the event. Dixon's lap today is his best thus far over three practice days. All drivers atop the speed charts turned their best laps with a tow for what was the first times that the seasoned IndyCar Series drivers were on track with the former Indy 500 racers, who had to take two days of a refresher course, and the first time the rookies truly mixed it up with with those who have experience on the famous Indianapolis Motor Speeedway 2.5-mile oval.

Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

The drivers have continued to say that they're working on race set up with laps in the 222-223 mph range the norm without the aid of a tow.

"It was a good day of running for us," said Castroneves, "Unfortunately, the weather was a little colder than we would have liked, though it was good to have a dry day. We were able to do some full-tank running in traffic to work on our race setup. Overall, we are pretty happy with the Team Penske car, but we are continuing to work on our race setup."

The start of practice was delayed for just over an hour for track drying due to early morning rain; yesterday's practice was rained out. With ten minutes remaining in the session E.J. Viso spun in Turn 1, making hard contact with the SAFER Barrier and the checkered flag was shown. Viso was taken to the infield care center before being transported to Methodist Hospital. Reports indicate he was awake and alert.

Mario Moraes, who was second fastest on the day (225.913), was involved in a separate incident when he spun exiting the pits. Moraes said it was his fault, noting, "I was too aggressive."

Marco Andretti was third fastest with a lap at 225.751. Andretti was observed running 223 mph by himself. "Right now, we're working on getting as much mechanical grip as possible because we know that these days are cold, but they're grippy, as well," he said. "We know that it's not going to be this easy in the coming week or two."

Alex Tagliani has continued to recover from bronchitis, setting the fourth fastest lap of the day at 225.394 mph. "After the first day of running, we felt very confident, and we evaluated the car and it was very good," said the Canadian. "Today we were able to put a good speed on the board, and we are very pleased with the performance of the car. We're going to keep our heads down and stay focused and continue to do what we are doing for the rest of the week. So far, it's been very positive."

Dan Wheldon had to be re-evaluated by medical staff before returning to the track today. His right foot was bruised in a single car incident on Sunday. Wheldon returned to the top five today, turning a lap at 225.378 mph, a tick slower than his best on opening day (225.609).

"It actually helped the National Guard Panther Racing team that there wasn't any track activity yesterday because it gave the boys an extra day to really take their time and put the No. 4 car back together," Wheldon said. "They did a great job working on it the last couple days. We have a lot of momentum on the team, and I'm not at all surprised we were able to come out of the gate so quickly today."

Simona De Silvestro, HVM Racing.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

Five different teams were represented in the top five, which is not out of the ordinary other than a Penske driver wasn't included. Helio Castroneves was the fastest of the Penske trio at 224.833 mph (8th overall). Will Power was 9th fastest (224.468), 0.0651 seconds slower than Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe was 19th (223.445).

"Today was pretty good," said Briscoe. "We were able to run lots of laps. We did some runs with Will, getting a feel for how the car behaves in traffic. Today was a productive day for us; we are working through our check list. I am looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow."

Simona de Silvestro was the fastest rookie driver. She made a huge improvement, jumping to 10th fastest on the day with a lap at 224.176 mph. "First day out there with everyone in traffic and we ended on a high note; which was nice because we had been working on the car the whole afternoon.

"The team found some things that I liked and we kept on progressing from there. Finishing the day in P10 was rewarding for me and also for the team who worked real hard all day. I think we're getting there but we still have a lot of work ahead of us and we're looking forward to the next couple of day before qualifying," she added.

Practice for the 94th Indianapolis 500 continues tomorrow from noon to 6:00 pm.


See also: Indy 500: E.J. Viso medical update 2010-05-18

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Series INDYCAR