IRL: Dixon leads shortened Iowa open test

Scott Dixon set the fastest lap today during the IndyCar Series debut at the 0.0894-mile Iowa Speedway. Friday's schedule called for four hours of what was officially an open test. The four hour session was cut short by more than two hours when ...

Scott Dixon set the fastest lap today during the IndyCar Series debut at the 0.0894-mile Iowa Speedway. Friday's schedule called for four hours of what was officially an open test. The four hour session was cut short by more than two hours when light rain moved into the area. Teams and officials were packed up and leaving the track by the time storms became violent with heavy rain, high wind and the threat of tornados.

Despite the shortened practice, 19 drivers turned a total of 1,433 laps. Dixon recorded 95 laps, nearly half Sunday's race distance, with his best stopping the clocks at 17.6006 seconds (182.857 mph).

After practice Dixon said, "That was a lot of fun," a remark that rang true among several drivers. "You can run quite close or very close to the other cars. There's tons of grip for us. In that direction, the race is going to be very exciting."

More than one Pro Series driver qualified on scuffed tires after finding that new tires provided more than enough grip.

Dixon's Target Ganassi teammate Dan Wheldon was second fastest today at 17.6710 seconds (182.129 mph). "I spoke to (track co-owner & designer) Rusty (Wallace) and he talked about how good it is," said Wheldon. "I have to say I have the same feelings."

Truly unique, it's difficult to compare Iowa Speedway to other tracks. Turns one and two resemble a roller coaster. Turn one is up and down hill as is Turn two, while in Turns three and four, the banking is consistent from the entry to three to the exit of four.

"In my opinion, it's a cross between Kentucky and somewhat similar to Pikes Peak," said Wheldon." There are a few bumps in Turns one and two, which makes it challenging, but for the most part it's an incredibly entertaining track to drive."

Team Penske drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves were third and fourth fastest respectively, while Andretti Green Racing drivers Marco Andretti and Dario Franchitti were fifth and sixth.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske