It’s been a rough first two races of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season for Chip Ganassi Racing. The team has been strong in most practice sessions, but bad luck has struck them in some type of capacity in both qualifying sessions this season and as well on both race days.
The team was heading to a track where they didn’t have the best of success at as none of the four drivers in the Ganassi stable have done very well on the 1.968-mile street circuit in Long Beach.
On Friday though, the team shined.
Scott Dixon, who’s searching for his first win at the prestigious race, led the way in the first of two practice sessions on Friday as he turned a lap of 1:08.6458-seconds in his No. 9 Target Chevrolet.
Dixon, was pleased with that effort as he’s hoping to turn his season around and move closer to being in the top 10 heading to Barber next weekend.
His Ganassi teammate Tony Kanaan was second quickest with a lap of 1:08.8076-seconds in his No. 10 NTT Data Chevy as it gave Ganassi a 1-2 sweep of the speed charts. It was the second straight week that Ganassi drivers swept the top two overall speeds in the opening practice session of the weekend.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay was third quickest while the Penske duo of Simon Pagenaud and Will Power rounded out the top five this morning.
The second session saw the days quickest speeds though. Will Power turned a lap that would shatter the track record as he turned a lap of 1:07.5485-seconds in his No. 1 Verizon Wireless Chevrolet.
Power, was the pick by many this weekend as he’s been as strong as anyone on the California street circuit.
“A lot of cars were running and laying rubber, but with the new aero kits and everything, the cars were just faster,” said Power, who was runner-up in the 2014 race and won in 2012 and 2008. “It’s always super tight around here when it gets to qualifying.The top six are usually separated by about a tenth and a half (of a second) or something.”
How the first session was dominanted by Ganassi drivers, the second was lead by the Penske group.
Power’s Penske teammates of Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves were second and third respectively to give the organization a clean 1-2-3 sweep of the speed charts in the second session this afternoon.
Dixon and the fourth member of Team Penske Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top five in the practice.
The series will practice one more time tomorrow morning before setting the field for the 41st annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach later on in the afternoon.
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report covering Racing. He’s covered both IndyCar and NASCAR action since 2009 and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by both the IndyCar Series and all three divisions of NASCAR racing.
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