Dario Franchitti tops Carb Day

Updated: May 25, 2012, 8:08 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing has won the last four points championships and two of the last four Indianapolis 500s.

After this year's trying May, the team finally got it right Friday.

Ganassi's top two drivers -- Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon -- finished atop the speed charts on the final day of practice, and a few hours later, Dixon handed Ganassi his first win in the Carb Day pit stop competition.

[+] EnlargeDario Franchitti
AP Photo/AJ MastDario Franchitti leads Helio Castroneves through the first turn on the final day of practice for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Those inside the team garage are hoping it's the start to a better race day Sunday.

"For us, it was just concentrating on the car and making sure it feels decent in traffic and making sure the systems work," said Dixon, a two-time points champ and the 2008 Indy winner. "It's nice to come out of the warm-up with confidence and know that you have a car you feel happy with."

Dixon, who is from New Zealand, posted the second-fastest lap in practice, 222.274 mph.

The only one that went faster was his Scottish teammate, Franchitti, who had a 222.360. American Marco Andretti was third fastest at 221.702.

It was a needed boost for a Ganassi team that spent most of the month trying to chase down the more powerful Chevrolet engines. Ganassi's team uses Hondas.

Most expected at least Dixon and Franchitti to make the Pole Day shootout, but none of Ganassi's four drivers made it into the top nine to vie for the actual pole. Graham Rahal was the top qualifier at No. 12, while Charlie Kimball, Dixon and Franchitti qualified 14th, 15th and 16th.

But just when it looked like Ganassi's team was struggling on the Brickyard's 2.5-mile oval, the team pulled off a rare double -- taking the top two spots on the speed charts and then giving the team owner his first win in the pit stop competition.

Dixon's crew defeated the crew of Panther-Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Oriol Servia by about three seconds in the final round of the competition. Ganassi had finished as the runner-up three times.

"It's nice to have days like this and moments for the guys because, you know, they are forgotten sometimes and they prepare harder than all of us," Dixon said after the pit stop win. "There's been a few change-ups and things like this, but today was flawless. They didn't make a mistake."

Ana Beatriz, who drives for Andretti Autosport, was the only driver who did not complete a lap in practice.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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