James Hinchcliffe was the surprise pacesetter in the final IndyCar practice session at New Hampshire as the Newman/Haas team served notice of its intent to cause an upset.
The Canadian had been solidly inside the top 10 in both of Thursday's first two sessions, but improved his relative pace considerably to lap the oval in 21.649sec – 0.144sec faster than Chip Ganassi driver Graham Rahal.
Maintaining his own strong form throughout the weekend so far, KV Racing's Tony Kanaan was third fastest while Oriol Servia made sure both Newman/Haas cars were at the sharp end with the fourth-best time. Takuma Sato was fifth quickest for KV with Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay next up.
The best of the drivers expected to challenge for victory was Ganassi's Scott Dixon in seventh, while his championship leading teammate Dario Franchitti – quickest in both Thursday sessions – was only 11th. Between the pair were Penske teammates Ryan Briscoe and Will Power and JR Hildebrand's Panther car.
Dale Coyne Racing's James Jakes was an encouraging 23rd while Helio Castroneves was well down in 18th for Penske.