Dixon fastest as brick halts practice

Scott Dixon set the fastest time in Friday's practice session for the Indianapolis 500, which was cut short when a piece of a brick from the yard of bricks at the start-finish line came loose and struck Mario Moraes' car

Dixon fastest as brick halts practice

The incident did not cause extensive damage to the KV driver's Dallara-Honda but it did leave a hole in the track and bring an end to a busy session about 20 minutes before its scheduled conclusion.

"I believe that's the first time that has ever happened," said Brian Barnhart, the Indy Racing League's chief operating officer, who made the decision to end the practice early to facilitate repairs.

Prior to the stoppage, last year's race winner Dixon (Ganassi) had gone quickest with a lap of 222.799mph, while Moraes' KV team-mate Townsend Bell was fastest among those yet to qualify, lapping at 222.139 mph in the #8 KVRT entry, putting him third fastest overall.

"I've had the chance to run a couple of times here before, and it's nice," Bell said. "Each time you come a little bit smarter in terms of what you need to have a good run on [race day]. I'm pretty happy with where we are. We had a chance to sort of inch our way toward more of qualifying set-up on the last run. The car's obviously quick, and I'm really excited about getting it into the field tomorrow."

Other non-qualifiers who looked strong included Oriol Servia, who turned a lap of 221.140 mph to take seventh for Rahal Letterman Racing, and Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Robert Doornbos, who was clocked at 220.804 mph. He had failed to qualify last weekend after two practice crashes.

"It was our plan to forget about tomorrow and work on the race car, but to be honest, it was always in the back of my mind because we are in a strange situation," Doornbos said. "We have a fast car, but we are not qualified. You just want to make sure you are in the show and then you start working on the race car."

Bell, Servia and Doornbos are expected to be the chief competitors for the 23rd starting position when qualifying resumes at noon local time on Saturday. Positions 23 through 33 remain open; the first 22 positions having been filled last weekend.

Those who have already secured starting positions spent Friday working on race set-ups. Before the trouble with the brick, Moraes had the second-best lap of the day, at a speed of 222.530 mph.

"On my last lap, I went across the start/finish line and sucked up a brick, which damaged my car and ended my day," Moraes said. "I feel bad for the crew because they are going to have to do some extra work tonight."

Pole winner Helio Castroneves was fourth in his T-car, followed by his Penske team-mate Ryan Briscoe, also trying out his spare.

Having failed to qualify on the first weekend due to a practice crash, Conquest Racing's Alex Tagliani recorded a promising lap of 220.804 mph in his T-car today, while Tomas Scheckter impressed by lapping at 220.516mph as he had his first taste of the #19 Dale Coyne Racing car.

Pos Driver Team Time Speed 1. Scott Dixon Ganassi 40.3951s 222.799mph 2. Mario Moraes KV 40.4440s 222.530mph 3. Townsend Bell KV 40.5152s 222.139mph 4. Helio Castroneves Penske 40.5955s 221.699mph 5. Ryan Briscoe Penske 40.6198s 221.567mph 6. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 40.6887s 221.192mph 7. Oriol Servia Rahal Letterman 40.6982s 221.140mph 8. Ed Carpenter Vision 40.7124s 221.063mph 9. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 40.7380s 220.924mph 10. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 40.7601s 220.804mph 11. Alex Tagliani Conquest 40.7601s 220.804mph 12. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 40.7644s 220.781mph 13. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 40.7836s 220.677mph 14. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 40.7852s 220.668mph 15. Tomas Scheckter Coyne 40.8134s 220.516mph 16. Dan Wheldon Panther 40.8145s 220.510mph 17. AJ Foyt IV Foyt 40.8387s 220.379mph 18. Will Power Penske 40.8617s 220.255mph 19. Sarah Fisher Fisher 40.8733s 220.193mph 20. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 40.9585s 219.735mph 21. Davey Hamilton Dreyer & Reinbold 40.9651s 219.699mph 22. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 40.9892s 219.570mph 23. John Andretti Petty/Dreyer & Reinbold 40.9927s 219.551mph 24. EJ Viso HVM 40.9967s 219.530mph 25. Ryan Hunter-Reay Vision 40.9991s 219.517mph 26. Stanton Barrett 3G 41.0024s 219.499mph 27. Alex Lloyd Schmidt/Ganassi 41.0330s 219.336mph 28. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 41.0520s 219.234mph 29. Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn 41.0602s 219.190mph 30. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 41.2151s 218.367mph 31. Nelson Philippe HVM 41.2928s 217.956mph 
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