DIXON PACES SEBRING MORNING PRACTICE
Dixon paces Group 2 morning practice
By Dave Lewandowski
SEBRING, Fla. -- Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, led 15 IZOD IndyCar Series drivers participating in the morning session of the Open Test at Sebring International Raceway.
Dixon had a quick lap of 51.7932 seconds on the 1.67-mile, 11-turn short course ino the Honda-powered car, which was a half-second quicker that Helio Castroneves' chart-topping lap from Group 1 on March 5-6.
"We haven't done a lot of laps, but our car right out of the box was pretty decent," said Dixon, who finished third in the 2011 series championship. "We're not really trying to go fast at Sebring, but are trying to cover all the bases before we get to St. Pete."
Mike Conway, driving the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing was second (52.6101) and Graham Rahal was third (52.6745) in the No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car.
Rubens Barrichello got in his first official laps as a member of KV Racing Technology (16 total in the morning), with a best of 52.8789 seconds -- sixth on the time sheet.
"I'm still a boy playing with a toy, finding out what the toy is capable of giving you," Barrichello said. "It's good to be back on a track I've been to before (an initial test with KV Racing Technology in late January) because even times I'm on zero but now I'm on 20. I had some laps here, so my mind is open.
"The biggest problem for me wil be the fact that I'll run without the (tire) warmers and the learning curve of the tracks with the new car and engines. I've learned tracks really fast in the past, but you're always playing catch-up a little bit."
The Open Test is open to the public each day (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). There is a $10 admission charge.