Dixon Fastest In Sonoma Practice

Scott Dixon fanned his slim IRL IndyCar Series championship hopes Friday by setting the fastest time in opening practice for Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Panoz, set the quickest time with a lap of 1:16.9073, 107.662 mph on the 2.26-mile Infineon Raceway.

The starting field for the 13th of 14 races on the IndyCar Series schedule will be set in qualifying Saturday.

IndyCar Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. was seventh fastest (106.524 mph) in the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Honda Dallara. His teammate, Helio Castroneves, was second in the combined sessions, 107.279 mph.

Hornish, a four-time 2006 winner, leads Castroneves by seven points. Target Chip Ganassi’s Dan Wheldon – fourth Friday at 106.890 mph – is 24 points behind, while Dixon is 33 points in arrears.

Also mathematically in the running are Andretti Green’s Tony Kanaan, 70 points back, and Panther’s Vitor Meira, trailing by 79 points.

“We can’t hold back anything, we have to win this race,” said Dixon, who won both the 2005 and 2006 IRL races at Watkins Glen International.

Andretti Green Racing had three drivers in the top seven, Dario Franchitti (third at 106.907 mph), Marco Andretti (fourth at 106.890 mph) and Bryan Herta (sixth at 106.585 mph).

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Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
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