IRL: Phoenix: Panoz G Force Friday report

Dixon Dominates Phoenix Practice for Panoz G Force AVONDALE, AZ, March 19, 2004 Current Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was quickest of 20 drivers today in practice for Sunday's Indy 200 Copper World Classic at the fast...

Dixon Dominates Phoenix Practice for Panoz G Force

AVONDALE, AZ, March 19, 2004 Current Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was quickest of 20 drivers today in practice for Sunday's Indy 200 Copper World Classic at the fast and tricky 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval. Driving the #1 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota the Kiwi turned a fast lap of 20.5208 seconds (175.432mph) on his 28th of only 32 laps this morning. Team Target spent much of the early session changing skid plates and returned to the standard issue to set their quick time. At that point, "The car was good out of the box. We just had a couple of balance issues," which they solved. Dixon worked on full-tank running and optimizing his Firestone tires during the 90-degree-plus later session.

Briton Darren Manning was ninth in the #10 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota, the twin to Dixon's mount. Manning found the conditions much changed from February's test. "There was a lot less grip than when we tested here so you have to be more careful about conserving your tires." The IndyCar novice doesn't think there will be much side-by-side racing in Sunday's 200-lap event, "but it will be important to get a run on guys in order to pass," he said.

The newest member of the Panoz G Force family, Adrian Fernandez took his first Indy Racing League laps today in a #5 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda and pronounced himself pleased with the day's events. "Obviously we have a lot to catch up on. There are a lot of things to get used to the car, the engine power, just so many things. We were pretty lost this morning with the setup but we came back a lot this afternoon." Fernandez ended up 17th after two practice sessions.

Panoz G Force chief designer Simon Marshall was pleased with the day's events. "Our car is definitely looking strong in race trim and I don't see any issues with qualifying," he said. "It'll be a good, hot race and I do believe we will be good in this heat. Our cars can be balanced well." Regarding the addition of Adrian Fernandez to the team he remarked, "Adrian will pull [rookie teammate Kosuke] Matsuura along now."

Qualifying for Sunday's Indy 200 Copper World Classic takes place at noon tomorrow (2PM EST). Similarly hot weather conditions are expected in the Phoenix area for time trials..

-g force-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Adrian Fernandez , Scott Dixon