Last year's winner Dario Franchitti edged out championship leader Will Power in Friday afternoon's IndyCar practice at Infineon Raceway. Just 0.0041 seconds separated the Ganassi and Penske drivers, as Power got straight onto the pace on his return to the track where he suffered a serious back injury last year.
Alex Tagliani vaulted to third for FAZZT in the final seconds, pushing Ganassi's Scott Dixon back to fourth. Justin Wilson (Dreyer & Reinbold) rounded out the top five.
Sixth-placed Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) was among the early pacesetters as the Ganassi and Penske drivers sat back in the pits for much of the sole hour of opening day practice. Panther's Dan Wheldon also took a turn on top before slipping back to ninth.
Newman/Haas got both cars in the top 10 – Graham Rahal taking seventh ahead of Penske's Ryan Briscoe, and Hideki Mutoh ending up 10th.
Andretti's Tony Kanaan had led the way initially, before his car ground to a halt in the pit entry after just three laps, ending his session and causing the first yellow. The only other stoppage occurred when Dale Coyne Racing's Alex Lloyd spun and stalled late in the session.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m18.2969s
2. Will Power Penske 1m18.3011s + 0.0041s
3. Alex Tagliani FAZZT 1m18.5661s + 0.2691s
4. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m18.6070s + 0.3100s
5. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m18.6161s + 0.3191s
6. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m18.6269s + 0.3300s
7. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas 1m18.6513s + 0.3543s
8. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m18.9154s + 0.6185s
9. Dan Wheldon Panther 1m18.9209s + 0.6239s
10. Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas 1m18.9551s + 0.6581s
11. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m18.9727s + 0.6757s
12. Raphael Matos De Ferran Dragon 1m19.0259s + 0.7290s
13. JR Hildebrand Dreyer & Reinbold 1m19.0385s + 0.7415s
14. Mario Moraes KV 1m19.0875s + 0.7906s
15. Tony Kanaan Andretti 1m19.0976s + 0.8006s
16. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m19.3044s + 1.0074s
17. EJ Viso KV 1m19.4274s + 1.1305s
18. Bertrand Baguette Conquest 1m19.5047s + 1.2077s
19. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m19.6060s + 1.3091s
20. Takuma Sato KV 1m19.6500s + 1.3530s
21. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 1m19.8831s + 1.5861s
22. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m19.9797s + 1.6828s
23. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m19.9946s + 1.6976s
24. Franceso Dracone Conquest 1m22.5665s + 4.2695s
25. Milka Duno Dale Coyne 1m23.9308s + 5.6339s