Dixon Scorches Kentucky Speedway Tri-Oval During IndyCar Series Practice Sessions
Chip Ganassi Racing driver and IndyCar Series championship leader Scott Dixon maintained the pace that helped him produce five wins and 11 top-five finishes this season by leading two "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Pepsi and Edy's" practice sessions at Kentucky Speedway today.
Dixon led the first session with a 220.181-mph (24.1983 seconds) lap and the second with a quick 220.004-mph (24.2177 seconds) trip around the 1.5-mile tri-oval at the facility.
The New Zealand native is on pace to threaten Sarah Fisher's standing series track pole record of 221.390-mph (24.0661 seconds) from 2003 during this evening's qualifying session.
Dan Wheldon was second fastest in the opening session after turning his best lap at 219.361-mph (24.2887 seconds). Andretti Green Racing driver and 2005 Kentucky Speedway "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Pepsi and Edy's" pole award winner Danica Patrick was third fastest in the first session with a 218.884-mph (24.3417 seconds) lap. Her teammate and 2007 Kentucky Speedway Firestone Indy Lights "Kentucky 100" champ Hideki Mutoh was fourth on the practice chart with a 218.631-mph (24.3698 seconds) lap.
Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira, who missed out on a 2005 Kentucky Speedway IndyCar Series win by 0.0779 of a second, was second-fastest in the second practice after turning a 219.469-mph (24.2768 seconds) lap. Marco Andretti made his way to third on the second-session chart by reeling off a 219.203-mph (24.3062 seconds) lap in his Meijer-sponsored race machine and Mutoh clicked off his best second-session lap at 219.181-mph (24.3087 seconds) to complete the top four.
Patrick lost the handling in her No. 7 car and brought out a caution flag during the second session. She officially placed seventh on the chart after turning her best of 16 session laps at 218.113 mph (24.4277 seconds).
"That was a big hit. As I slid up the track, I thought - this is a bit of a high speed to be watching the wall come at me. I was in the second groove and I was comfortable up there running a couple laps. I was up there again and started to understeer a little bit up the track. I tried to steer into it a little, but I couldn't get the car to come back and turn down lower. I hung for as long as I could," she said.
Patrick will not make a qualifying attempt. She will move to a back-up car, the same machine with which she earned a win at Twin Ring Motegi Japan this season.
Firestone Indy Lights drivers will fight for the "Kentucky 100" pole award at 5:00 p.m., and "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Pepsi and Edy's" qualifying follows at 6:15 p.m.
Infield Fanfest games and race-related activities begin at 7:30 p.m.
All IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers will close out the evening with a one-hour autograph session that gets under way at 8:00 p.m. Fanfest fun continues until 9:00 p.m.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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