SEBRING SPRING TRAINING REPORT
INDYCAR: Thursday Sebring Spring Training Report
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon rockets to the top of the charts during the Thursday morning session, posting a 51.79-second lap.
Marshall Pruett - March 8, 2012
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon shot to the top of the charts on only his sixth lap during the Thursday morning session, posting a 51.79-second tour of the 10-turn, 1.7-mile Sebring facility in his Honda-powered Dallara DW12.
"It felt good right out of the box," the Kiwi told SPEED.com. "I looked down at my dash and though there was an error, honestly, because it came pretty easy. It was a good first morning for the Target team, but with the heat coming up, I think the track's gonna get greasy this afternoon."
The fastest lap from the Monday-Tuesday test went to Team Penske's Helio Castroneves at a 52.14.
Mike Conway, who was quick in recent testing at Sebring, trailed Dixon by almost a second, turning a 52.61-second lap. Ganassi's Graham Rahal was close behind with a 52.67, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Takuma Sato ran fourth with a 52.68, making it a Honda 1-2-3-4.
Panther Racing's JR Hildebrand was the fastest amongst the Chevrolet teams present, turning a 52.874 in fifth, and KV Racing's Rubens Barrichello, whose engine went off song just as the session concluded, ran sixth with a 52.879, only .004 behind the young American.
Barrichello needed just seven laps to post his best time, and completed only 16 laps after getting a late start to the session.
Ganassi's Charlie Kimball was the first in the 53-second range, posting a 53.31 as he dealt with brakes that felt like they were grabbing too much. KV's EJ Viso had the only off during the morning, damaging the nose on his car and halting the session as corner marshals put the tire barriers back in place. Viso returned with a new, unpainted nose to complete the session. His best lap was a 53.49.
Reigning IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti had a slow morning, turning only five laps with a best of 53.53, which was good enough for ninth.
Franchitti, a right-foot braker, had been waiting for Dallara to produce a pedal assembly to allow right-foot braking. That kit arrived while he was in St. Petersburg doing series media duties on Wednesday, meaning the Ganassi team had to burn valuable time Thursday morning fitting the Scot to the car and to set the pedals to his liking. Once he got out, an undisclosed issue halted his session early, but the team is expected to be out in the afternoon.
A somewhat frustrated Tony Kanaan ran 10th with a 53.62-second lap in his KV Racing car, and Oriol Servia was the first of the Lotus runners in his Dreyer & Reinbold car, posting a 54.09 for 11th-fastest.
Alex Tagliani turned the first laps for Bryan Herta Autosport's new Lotus-powered car, setting a best of 54.41, Ana Beatriz, driving James Hinchcliffe's Andretti Autosport as part of a one-day test, turned a 54.46 and Ed Carpenter, making his team's series debut, fought a misfire all morning, turning an unrepresentative 58.08 in his Chevrolet-powered car.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's Josef Newgarden also turned laps in his Honda-powered car, but his timing transponder was not functioning properly and did not generate lap times.
Good news came from the Dragon Racing camp, as driver Katherine Legge was getting suited with the expectation of turning her first laps in their Lotus-powered car just after lunch.