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Ganassi top rain-shortened practice

Scott Dixon, 2008The guys who were fastest Saturday continued to be the fastest Wednesday as preparation resumed for the 92nd Indianapolis 500.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon had the fastest laps during an abbreviated and hurried practice session Wednesday that lasted about 51 minutes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dixon recorded a lap of 222.834 mph in the No. 9 Ganassi Honda/Dallara, while Wheldon was clocked at 222.810 mph in the No. 10 car.

"We just wanted to see how the car handled in traffic," said Dixon, who completed just 17 laps. "Everybody was out there, so we got to run in traffic a little bit and see how the balance was. We have a little bit of understeer, especially in traffic."

Wednesday's session, the first track activity since pole qualifying Saturday, was delayed and shortened because of rain. It didn't begin until 5 pm ET, then was cut short at 5:51 pm when the rain resumed.

The bulk of the 390 laps recorded Wednesday occurred after 5:30, and just two drivers - Hideki Mutoh and Will Power - topped 25 laps.

"Assuming it will rain again tomorrow, it was good that we got some track time today," Mutoh said. "We were able to try some of the setup changes on the car, and we were able to get a pretty balanced car, so we are happy with what we were able to accomplish in such a short time."

Just below the two Ganassi drivers atop the speed chart were three Andretti Green Racing pilots - Marco Andretti, Mutoh and Danica Patrick.

The most surprising appearance on the chart came from John Andretti, who replaced Jay Howard in the Roth Racing No. 24 Honda/Dallara last weekend. Andretti was clocked sixth-fastest of the session, followed by Buddy Rice, Enrique Bernoldi, Townsend Bell and Bruno Junqueira.

"I'm not worried about the race; I'm worried about qualifying," Andretti said. "I don't have a lot of experience with these cars right now."

The 51-minute session was critical and busy because of previous and future rainouts. Regulars had just 12 hours of practice last week before pole qualifying Saturday. The following day's qualifying session was rained out, making for a busy session on this Saturday's card.

Those already qualified are expected to make use of any and all practice time during Saturday and Sunday qualifying sessions.

Adding to the sense of anxiety is the threat of more rain Thursday. If that session is rained out, just one more practice day - Friday - will be available before the final weekend of qualifying.

"I'm going to guess the safety trucks have done more laps than we have this month," said Ed Carpenter, who will start tenth in the race May 25. "We've missed so much track time that we'll be using Saturday and Sunday to run."

While some drivers fretted over track time, others worked toward last-minute possibilities. Among those trolling the garages were Jaques Lazier and Alex Barron, who was thought to be in line for the Beck Motorsports No. 98 ride that went to Roger Yasukawa.

"Every year something happens," Barron said. "It's unpredictable. I just need to make sure I'm around, and hopefully I'll get a chance."

Practice is scheduled to resume Thursday at noon ET, but a 70 percent chance of rain is in the forecast.

Pos  Driver             Team                 Speed
 1.  Scott Dixon        Ganassi              222.834 mph
 2.  Dan Wheldon        Ganassi              222.810 mph
 3.  Marco Andretti     Andretti Green       222.801 mph
 4.  Hideki Mutoh       Andretti Green       221.868 mph
 5.  Danica Patrick     Andretti Green       221.683 mph
 6.  John Andretti      Roth                 221.386 mph
 7.  Buddy Rice         Dreyer & Reinbold    220.277 mph
 8.  Enrique Bernoldi   Conquest             220.105 mph
 9.  Townsend Bell      Dreyer & Reinbold    220.020 mph
10.  Bruno Junqueira    Dale Coyne           219.981 mph
11.  Will Power         KV                   219.953 mph
12.  Oriol Servia       KV                   219.896 mph
13.  Max Papis          Schmidt              219.654 mph
14.  Ed Carpenter       Vision               219.645 mph
15.  Darren Manning     AJ Foyt              219.579 mph
16.  A.J. Foyt IV       Vision               219.530 mph
17.  Mario Dominguez    Pacific Coast        219.319 mph
18.  Alex Lloyd         Rahal Letterman      219.180 mph
19.  Sarah Fisher       Sarah Fisher         218.617 mph
20.  Jaime Camara       Conquest             218.406 mph
21.  Graham Rahal       Newman/Haas/Lanigan  218.134 mph
22.  Jeff Simmons       AJ Foyt              216.907 mph
23.  Justin Wilson      Newman/Haas/Lanigan  214.762 mph
24.  Marty Roth         Roth                 213.691 mph
25.  Roger Yasukawa     Beck                 212.349 mph
26.  Mario Moraes       Dale Coyne           191.086 mph
27.  Ryan Hunter-Reay   Rahal Letterman      107.525 mph
28.  EJ Viso            HVM                  105.927 mph
29.  Milka Duno         Dreyer & Reinbold     84.288 mph
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