Franchitti On the "Right" Street at St. Petersburg Dario Franchitti led the way for Honda-powered drivers and teams in opening practice Friday at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, as the Indy Racing League "took to the streets" for the...
Franchitti On the "Right" Street at St. Petersburg
Dario Franchitti led the way for Honda-powered drivers and teams in opening practice Friday at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, as the Indy Racing League "took to the streets" for the first time in the 10-year history of the IndyCar Series. Franchitti posted the second-fastest time of the day, less than one-tenth of a second off the pace-setting time of Helio Castroneves.
Defending series champion Tony Kanaan was third overall, with Vitor Meira leading the three-car Rahal Letterman Racing effort in fifth. Bryan Herta rounded out the top six, and 2004 Rookie of the Year Kosuke Matsuura ran eighth overall for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing.
Dan Wheldon was 11the in the fourth Andretti Green Racing entry, followed by Scott Sharps Delphi Fernandez Racing entry. Rookie Danica Patrick placed 15th, just ahead of teammate Buddy Rice. Roger Yasukawa crashed without injury near the end of the morning practice session, and was unable to take part in the second, and quicker, session as a result.
Today's practice speeds will be used to determine Saturday's qualifying, in reverse order with the slowest of today's 21 drivers, A.J. Foyt IV, making the first run. That will be immediately followed by a "shootout" of the fastest six drivers from single-car qualifying, who will run en-masse over a brief, 10-minute session to set the top three rows of the starting field.
Dario Franchitti (#27 Arca/Ex Andretti Green Racing Honda) Second in practice: "That was a lot of fun today, it's great to be turning both left and right again. The car's okay now. We went one direction with the setup earlier today, but didn't like that too much. So we took a different direction and I'm pretty happy with things now. The tracks just going to get faster and faster as the cars put more rubber down on it. I think we have a very good chance of taking the pole in qualifying tomorrow."