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Castroneves leads Friday practice

Helio Castroneves, Penske, Indy practice 2010Last year's winner Helio Castroneves was quickest on the final day of practice ahead of qualifying for the 2010 Indianapolis 500.

The Brazilian, who also took pole in 2009 prior to notching up his third Indy win, led a Penske one-two ahead of his championship-leading team-mate Will Power. Castroneves' top speed of 226.558mph gave him a lap time of 39.7250 seconds - 0.0226s ahead of Power.

But once again the star of the day was Fazzt's Alex Tagliani. While the team continues to strive to tie down the financial package to let Bruno Junqueira hit the track in its second car, its #77 entry is flying in Tagliani's hands.

The Canadian knocked Ganassi's Scott Dixon off the top spot early on today, and was fastest for a while before the Penske duo edged ahead. Tagliani retained third, ahead of Dixon, Mario Moraes showing strong form for KV Racing in fifth, and Thursday pacesetter Tony Kanaan in the top Andretti Autosport car.

The session passed without major incident, and despite fears that rain would ruin the day, in the event it caused several pauses but did not significantly interfere with the day.

Qualifying starts from 11am local time on Saturday, with positions 10-24 decided in the initial session before the fastest nine drivers go into a new shoot-out qualifying for the first nine positions on the grid. The final spots in the field are filled during Sunday's Bump Day qualifying.

Pos  Driver               Team               Time      Gap
 1.  Helio Castroneves    Penske             39.7250s
 2.  Will Power           Penske             39.7476s  + 0.0226s
 3.  Alex Tagliani        Fazzt              39.7960s  + 0.0710s
 4.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi            39.8533s  + 0.1283s
 5.  Mario Moraes         KV                 39.8573s  + 0.1323s
 6.  Tony Kanaan          Andretti           39.8906s  + 0.1656s
 7.  Ryan Briscoe         Penske             39.9467s  + 0.2217s
 8.  Marco Andretti       Andretti           39.9475s  + 0.2225s
 9.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi            39.9501s  + 0.2251s
10.  Townsend Bell        Ganassi/Schmidt    39.9685s  + 0.2435s
11.  Graham Rahal         Rahal Letterman    39.9749s  + 0.2499s
12.  Alex Lloyd           Dale Coyne         39.9817s  + 0.2567s
13.  Hideki Mutoh         Newman/Haas        39.9823s  + 0.2573s
14.  Mike Conway          Dreyer & Reinbold  39.9894s  + 0.2644s
15.  AJ Foyt IV           Foyt               40.0280s  + 0.3030s
16.  Paul Tracy           KV                 40.0386s  + 0.3136s
17.  Davey Hamilton       de Ferran Dragon   40.0483s  + 0.3233s
18.  Raphael Matos        de Ferran Dragon   40.0508s  + 0.3258s
19.  Vitor Meira          Foyt               40.0781s  + 0.3531s
20.  Justin Wilson        Dreyer & Reinbold  40.0861s  + 0.3611s
21.  Takuma Sato          KV                 40.1017s  + 0.3767s
22.  Bertrand Baguette    Conquest           40.1049s  + 0.3799s
23.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti           40.1095s  + 0.3845s
24.  Ed Carpenter         Panther/Vision     40.1108s  + 0.3858s
25.  Simona de Silvestro  HVM                40.1123s  + 0.3873s
26.  Tomas Scheckter      Dreyer & Reinbold  40.1470s  + 0.4220s
27.  Danica Patrick       Andretti           40.1535s  + 0.4285s
28.  Jay Howard           Sarah Fisher       40.1756s  + 0.4506s
29.  Mario Romancini      Conquest           40.1942s  + 0.4692s
30.  John Andretti        Andretti           40.2926s  + 0.5676s
31.  EJ Viso              KV                 40.2931s  + 0.5681s
32.  Milka Duno           Dale Coyne         40.2966s  + 0.5716s
33.  Sarah Fisher         Sarah Fisher       40.4435s  + 0.7185s
34.  Sebastian Saavedra   Herta              40.4958s  + 0.7708s
35.  Ana Beatriz          Dreyer & Reinbold  40.4995s  + 0.7745s
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