Franchitti, Mutoh Pace Early IndyCar Series, Indy Pro Series Kentucky Practice Sessions
Eighteen IndyCar Series drivers tested race line and car set-ups on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway tri-oval this morning during the first of two scheduled practice sessions that will lead up to tomorrow night's "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Coca-Cola and Edy's."
IndyCar Series championship leader Dario Franchitti sped to the top of the practice chart by turning a 217.839-mph (24.4584 seconds) lap in his No. 27 Canadian Club Andretti Green Racing entry. Second-place championship contender and Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon, who placed second in last year's "Meijer Indy 300," and his No. 9 Target car occupied the second slot on the speed report with a 217.684-mph (24.4759 seconds) lap.
Andretti Green Racing driver Danica Patrick, who started the 2005 series Kentucky race from the pole position and finished a track-best eighth last season, was third on the chart with a 217.288-mph (24.5205 seconds) lap in her No. 7 Motorola machine.
Penske Racing driver Sam Hornish, Jr., who became the second two-time series winner in Kentucky Speedway history last season, shown fourth in practice with a 217.235-mph (24.5264 seconds) lap and Dixon's teammate, Dan Wheldon, who owns two third-place and one fourth-place Kentucky Speedway IndyCar Series finish, completed the top five with a 216.976-mph (24.5557 seconds) lap.
Twenty Indy Pro Series drivers opened the action with an earlier "Kentucky Indy Pro 100" practice session.
Panther Racing driver Hideki Mutoh, currently second in the series standings and 111 points behind leader Alex Lloyd, and his No. 55 machine topped the speed chart in the first session with a 191.486-mph (27.8245 seconds) lap that was 1.088-mph (0.159 of a second) quicker than the series track qualifying record set by Travis Gregg in 2004.
AFS / Andretti Green Racing driver Wade Cunningham and his No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers car were second in the session after turning a 191.438-mph (27.8314 seconds) circuit, Lloyd was third on the chart after delivering a 190.954-mph (27.9020 seconds) lap, Jaime Camara was fourth in the session with a 190.786-mph (27.9292 seconds) lap in his No. 11 Osofresh AFS/Andretti Green entry and Ryan Justice rounded out the session top-five with a 190.530-mph (27.9641 seconds) circuit in his Lifelock/Lucas Oil/SSM ride.
Camden, Ohio native and Miami University alum Gregg, a 2005 Kentucky Speedway series winner and two-time series pole award winner at the track, was ninth on the speed chart with a 189.111-mph (28.1740 mph) lap while Cincinnati, Ohio driver and St. Xavier High School graduate Brad Jaeger was 17th on the practice ledger with a 186.303-mph (28.5985 seconds) lap.
Both series also will practice this afternoon before the Indy Pro Series qualifies 5:00 p.m. and the IndyCar Series qualifies at 6:15 p.m.