(by Dave Lewandowski indycar.com 10-13-11)
Andretti Autosport made a splash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with all four of its cars in the top 10 of the initial practice session.
Danica Patrick, who'll be making her final IZOD IndyCar Series for the forseeable future in the Las Vegas Indy 300 -- the Oct. 16 marquee event of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda -- topped the speed chart with a quick (emphasize quick) lap of 224.719 mph on the 1.5-mile oval.
"It's friggin' fast here," said Patrick, driving the No. 7 Team GoDaddy car. "Almost a 225 lap is like Indy speeds. The track is nice and smooth and we’ll be three-wide out there, which will be exciting. The race is going to be crazy and the crashes will be spectacular.
"Nothing would let me turn the page better than winning here."
Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay (223.888; third), Mike Conway (223.558; fifth) and Marco Andretti (223.509; seventh) joined her in the top 10. The top 15 cars were separated by two-tenths of a second.
Oriol Servia (224.026 mph) was second quick, and Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (223.689) was fourth. Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (223.519) and Ryan Briscoe (223.482) also were in the top 10.
"It is so fast; the fans are going to get a great show," said Servia, driving the No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing car.
Dario Franchitti and Will Power, the IZOD IndyCar Series championship contenders, were 10th and 14th on the chart, respectively.
“We have some work to do on the Target car," said Franchitti, who takes an 18-point lead into the 200-lap season finale. "I wasn’t happy where we were to start today. Lots of work to do to get the car where we need it to be for the race on Sunday.”
Said Power: “We still have some speed to find in the Verizon car but it was a decent start for us today. It’s good to get some laps in here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and we’ll be working hard to get the most out of the car in practice and qualifying."