Chip Ganassi Racing tops Iowa Practice speed charts

Tony Kanaan, who has earned podium finishes in the past five races at Iowa Speedway, posted the fastest lap of 17.7544 seconds (181.273 mph).

Chip Ganassi Racing tops Iowa Practice speed charts
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet and Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda and Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet and Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ed Carpenter, CFH Racing Chevrolet and Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet

Newton, Iowa (July 17, 2015) - Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon ran 1-2 on the speed chart in both 45-minute Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions for the Iowa Corn 300 on the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway oval.

Kanaan, who has earned podium finishes in the past five races at Iowa Speedway, posted the fastest lap of 17.7544 seconds (181.273 mph) in the second practice session in the No. 10 Fusion Chevrolet. His lap of 17.9580 seconds (179.218 mph) in the initial session also was fastest of the 24 entries for the 300-lap race under the lights July 18.

"I think we have a pretty good setup," Kanaan said. "The track suits my style. The short ovals are definitely one of my strengths. So far, we're pretty happy with the race car so we'll see what's going to happen."

Dixon recorded a best lap of 181.229 mph (17.7587 seconds) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in the second practice.

He set the track two-lap qualifying record of 186.256 mph on July 11, 2014, and has started from the pole three times in the eight previous Verizon IndyCar Series races at Iowa Speedway. Single-car qualifications are scheduled for 4 p.m. ET July 18, with the green flag for the race scheduled for 8:50 p.m. (NBCSN).

The next victory for Chip Ganassi Racing will be the 100th in team history.

Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power was third overall (180.898 mph) in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to lead teammates Simon Pagenaud (180.795) and Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Juan Pablo Montoya (180.474) in the top five.

Iowa Speedway Win Count: Andretti 6, Penske 0

Team Penske, with its powerful driving foursome of Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, has been considered a favorite at most Verizon IndyCar Series tracks this season. Yet Iowa Speedway is the only returning venue on the 2015 schedule where Roger Penske's cars have never won.

Meanwhile, Andretti Autosport has won six of the previous eight races here, including the last five in a row. So does that make the Andretti stable of Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz and Justin Wilson the pre-race favorite this weekend?

"They've certainly been really strong," Pagenaud said today during a media availability. "Marco has been really strong here, Hunter-Reay as well. No reason for us not to be just as competitive. We've shown a lot of strength on every track."

Penske drivers have finished second on two occasions at Iowa - Ryan Briscoe in 2009 and Castroneves in 2010. Castroneves felt he "had a great shot" to win last year until a number of drivers pitted under a late caution period for fresh Firestone tires and Hunter-Reay stormed to his second Iowa victory.

"Obviously, (taking on) new tires ended up paying off with only 10 laps to go (last year)," Castroneves said. "In this case, we've got to just keep doing what we're doing. ... But at this point I feel that all four of us, we're going to have a great chance to be in first place here."

For his part, Andretti - winner at Iowa in 2011 - believes his team deserves to be called the Iowa favorite based on past history.

"I'd like to think so," Andretti said. "The team, for whatever reason, rolls off pretty strong here. I think last year we started to struggle a little bit, but they definitely pulled the rabbit out of the hat there in the end (with Hunter-Reay winning). ... It was cool to be able to keep the streak alive. That's still the goal."

Iowa Corn 300 post-practice quotes

Tony Kanaan (No. 10 Fusion Chevrolet): "I think the No. 10 Fusion Chevrolet is where it needs to be heading into qualifying tomorrow. The second practice we were able to work through some things we found in the first practice and we worked on a few qualifying runs. These short ovals are where I'm strongest, so I'm hoping we can get our first win of the season tomorrow night."

Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "I'm pretty happy so far. We unloaded fast off the truck in the Target car. (Tony Kanaan) and I were fast here last year, but we got beat by others on a tire gamble late in that race. Overall the car is good and I'm looking forward to qualifying and the race tomorrow night."

Will Power (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Verizon Chevy ran strong today. We didn't get much traffic running. It's hard to tell where we are at and it's obviously good by itself, but with all this downforce it would be. But we're looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying and with temperature dropping, it should make for some interesting results."

Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Very hot today behind the wheel of the Verizon Chevy, but was a good day for us. We learned a lot in the first practice session and were able to make good adjustments for the second one. I was happy with the way we finished the day. The top cars are all very close together on time. The cars behave way different than what we have been used to in the past, even just from this past weekend in Milwaukee. But it's the same for everyone."

Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "The track is fast, but the temperature is much more humid than anything we have dealt with this year. The new aero kit behaves very different from what we've had here before. We tried a lot of things today, to be honest. Now it's time to get together with my Team Penske teammates to see what they found out with their cars, but the Hitachi Chevy is consistent and strong enough to have a good result tomorrow night."

Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "The Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet is quite good this weekend and we feel consistent on the race run after both practices. It's difficult to predict what's going to happen with the new Chevy aero kit as we don't get much testing, so we're still trying to understand some things. But we were able to have a very strong pace out there today. With it being a night race tomorrow, it'll be a different forecast with the temperature dropping, but it will be great for the fans and we're looking forward to it."

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