Dixon fastest as Winslow crashes at Indy

Scott Dixon set the pace on Carb Day

Scott Dixon set the pace on Carb Day

New Zealand’s Scott Dixon has set to the fastest time on Carb Day at the Indianapolis 500.

The 2008 winner, who will start the 100th anniversary race from the middle of the front-row, set a fastest speed of 225.474 mph during the final practice session.

Pole sitter Alex Tagliani (224.739 mph) and defending race winner Dario Franchitti (224.658 mph) were only marginally slower than Dixon, while Australians Will Power and Ryan Briscoe were 13th and 15th fastest respectively.

Dixon, whose Target Chip Ganassi team announced earlier in the day that it will stick with Honda engines for 2012, played down the importance of outright speed during the session.

“It’s more of just a systems check – the car’s obviously been in a million pieces since we last drove them, (so) it’s just to make sure they’re all functioning,” said Dixon of Carb Day.

“We came in and did a few pit stops. Because of the lack of on-track time that we’ve had, we made a few changes. We tried some dampers, aero downforce levels, things like that.

“It’s obviously very cold and probably not very close or in line with what we’re going to run in on Sunday.”

Also at the speedway on Carb Day, Josef Newgarden led a Sam Schmidt Motorsports one-two finish in the Firestone Freedom 100 Indy Lights Series race, beating his team-mate Esteban Guerrieri.

The victory for Newgarden, driving the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, gave team owner Sam Schmidt his sixth win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in nine Firestone Freedom 100 starts.

Newgarden was the first American winner of the Freedom 100 since Ed Carpenter won the inaugural race in 2003 and leads Guerrieri in the point standings by 26 points (151-125). Victor Garcia finished third in the No. 22 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling car.

Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship competitor failed to finish the event after a mid-race crash.

“I came through Turn 1 and somebody had spun, I think Gustavo (Yacaman), perhaps five places in front of me,” said Winslow.

“As I came through the corner, there was just a wall of blue smoke, so I couldn’t see where to go. I tried to slow down as much as I could.”

See below for video highlights of Carb Day practice

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