Practice 1: Tagliani on top

Alex Tagliani ended Friday as the fastest man around California Speedway, lapping the 2-mile oval at 233.726 mph. That was good enough to top the Team Rahal duo of Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr, both of whom topped 232 mph as Ford-Cosworth swept the top three spots in the afternoon session (Tony Kanaan's 232.891 mph lap set the morning pace).

Practice 1: Tagliani on top

Tagliani, who is reportedly seeking work for next year, said that he wasn't looking for a tow in Friday afternoon's practice session, but he got one anyway.

"We were working with downforce throughout the session and we were pretty trimmed out," he admitted. There was a tow involved in my lap for sure."

The French-Canadian driver added that he was pleased by the performance of his Player's/Forsythe Reynard in oval racing trim.

"I was fast in practice at Rockingham but we qualified ninth there, so we tried a lot of things today to try to free the car up for qualifying. But I think these times are representative of what we'll do in the race."

Ford-Cosworth's engine has had plenty of power all year, but their drivers have struggled with more traction control issues than their competitors - Honda and Toyota. Of course, that's not an issue on a superspeeedway.

"The engine seems good and I don't think power is going to be a problem here," said Vasser, who won here in 1998. "My car is getting better but there's still some things I don't like. The car isn't as stable running in traffic as I would like it to be."

Kanaan added: "I'm not worried about qualifying - it's obviously a long race. We have a little too much understeer in traffic and that's what we'll be working on."

Dario Franchitti's morning lap of 232.743 mph put him fourth overall, followed by Pat Carpentier and Michael Andretti. The top 16 drivers topped 230 mph.

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