Charlie Kimball gave the Chip Ganassi Racing organization and Honda a session sweep of the fastest laps during Monday's IZOD IndyCar Series open test at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kimball ran a lap of 211.330mph in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Honda to take the top honors in the afternoon session and second overall to Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon. Dixon (No. 9 Target Honda), who was second to Kimball in the afternoon at 211.330mph , was the only driver on the day to surpass 212 mph with his morning-session lap of 212.371mph. Dixon was more pleased with his Dallara's handling than his speeds.
“Coming here today and having the car in a situation where you can take a lot of downforce off it's pretty difficult and qualifying could actually be difficult for a change," said the New Zealander. "At Texas, that's pretty big.”
Added Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, whose spirited 10-lap stint trading the lead with teammate Will Power finished the day: "I see three guys, two guys side by side in the race. It will be exciting, but more on the safe side. The car is much more safe.”
Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe and KV Racing Technology's Tony Kanaan participated in a February test to set the aero baseline for Texas.Briscoe said he saw much improvement since then.
"We came back with a different aero package with less downforce that makes it a little more challenging to drive," said Briscoe, who won the 2010 race at Texas. "You can find the limits of the tires sooner. We basically can get close to being fully trimmed out for the qualifying run, and then for the race you'll have to gamble on what you want to put back in. Hopefully that's on the right direction to not everyone running the least amount of downforce possible resulting in too much grip, which creates to the pack racing we saw in Vegas. We'll have to really pedal the cars from mid-race on."
Dario Franchitti (No. 10 Target Honda) gave Ganassi the top three spots in the afternoon with a lap of 210.525mph. Team Penske's Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) was fourth at 210.367mph and another Ganassi entry – Graham Rahal (No. 38 Service Central Honda) – was fifth at 210.011mph.
The teams ran a combined 836 laps in the afternoon session, led by 112 by Franchitti. Overall, the teams ran 1,172 laps on the 1.5-mile oval with Power pacing the field with 137.
IndyCar closed out the final session with some pack racing involving three to four cars, with the most active during this stint being Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers.
"This track, it's funny," added Briscoe. "It can be a pack race and then conditions change and you look at the race in 2010 and we were lifting through half the stint then. But conditions today were good and it was hard to do a full stint on tires. So I think that's a positive note."
Pos Driver Team/Car/Engine Speed
1. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 212.371
2. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda 211.330
3. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda 210.525
4. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevrolet 210.367
5. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevrolet 210.078
6. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda 210.011
7. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevrolet 209.076
8. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevrolet 207.886
9. Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 207.508
10. Wade Cunningham Foyt DW12-Chevrolet 206.986
11. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevrolet 206.848
12. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevrolet 205.045
Source: Texas Motor Speedway, IndyCar