Andretti Green Lead Final Test

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Andretti Green Racing Honda-powered drivers claimed the top three positions in two days of pre-season Indy Racing League testing this week at Phoenix International Raceway. It was the final IndyCar Series test prior to the start of 2005 season next month at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Dario Franchitti led two of his AGR teammates, Dan Wheldon and defending series champion Tony Kanaan, at the top of the combined time sheets.

“The (fastest) posted speed is just an indicator of our qualifying set-up, and that’s obviously good," said Franchitti. "We had a long list of things to test here, and simulated qualifying runs were only one of those items. But I got to do a couple of race simulations as well over the course of the test. There’s still a bit of work to do before the season starts, but I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made so far.

Helio Castroneves turned the fourth best time in the Team Penske Toyota-Dallara with a lap of 20.642 seconds (174.394 mph).

Veteran Scott Sharp continued his run of strong pre-season showings for Delphi Fernandez Racing with the fifth-quickest speed of the test, followed by Bryan Herta in the final Andretti Green Racing entry.

Defending Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice in the quickest of three Rahal Letterman Racing entries in seventh.

The 17- race IndyCar season starts March 6 at Homestead, with the first street-circuit event in series history taking place April 3 at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the west coast of Florida.

Combined Practice Times:

Driver Time Speed
1. Dario Franchitti 20.504 175.574 mph
2. Dan Wheldon 20.561 175.096
3. Tony Kanaan 20.567 175.053
4. Helio Castroneves 20.642 174.394
5. Scott Sharp 20.657 174.271
6. Bryan Herta 20.681 174.072
7. Buddy Rice 20.692 173.973
8. Sam Hornish Jr. 20.702 173.890
9. Scott Dixon 20.709 173.836
10. Tomas Enge-R 20.752 173.476
11. Roger Yasukawa 20.765 173.362
12. Vitor Meira 20.787 173.178
13. Darren Manning 20.830 172.823
14. Ryan Briscoe-R 20.835 172.784
15. Patrick Carpentier 20.845 172.702
16. Tomas Scheckter 20.848 172.677
17. Alex Barron Cheever 20.866 172.524
18. Kosuke Matsuura 20.874 172.463
19. Danica Patrick-R 21.073 170.827
20. A.J. Foyt IV 21.344 168.662

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