Dario Marco Lead Milwaukee Practice
July 21, 2006 | 8:56 P.M. EST
Dario Franchitti led the opening session with a quick lap of 21.5691 seconds, 169.409 mph, while rookie Marco Andretti led the afternoon practice with a quick lap of 21.5839 seconds, 169.293 mph.
Panther Racing's Vitor Meira was third, 169.061, followed by Andretti teammates Tony Kanaan, 168.834 mph, and Bryan Herta, 168.580 mph.
"I think this is a track that is more to our liking and we might have a chance at racing with some of the other cars that have been out front this year," Franchitti said. "There are a lot of strong cars out there, but the Andretti Green foursome has a reasonably good chance."
While Marlboro Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing has dominated IRL IndyCar Series competition to date, three of the four drivers from the two teams struggled. Penske's Helio Castroneves was sixth fastest, 168.504 mph, but teammate and points leader Sam Hornish was 17th of the 18 competitors, 164.667 mph, despite turning 120 laps on the mile oval. Ganassi's Dan Wheldon (167.171 mph) and Scott Dixon (166.888 mph) were ninth and 10th, one position ahead of Danica Patrick (166.755 mph).
Also practicing in the top 10 were Tomas Scheckter (167.921 mph) and Jeff Bucknum, making his second start in the No. 14 Honda for A.J. Foyt Racing, 167.285 mph.
Franchitti won the pole for the street race at St. Petersburg, Florida, earlier this year – the only pole winner from outside the Penske and Ganassi camps. Those two teams also have combined to win all nine of the 2006 races.
Qualifying will be held Saturday at 12:15 p.m., with the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 taking the green flag Sunday at 12:45 p.m. (CDT). Sunday’s schedule also includes a 100-mile USAC Silver Crown Series race.