IndyCar: Dixon at Penske’s heels during Barber test

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Team Penske driver’s Will Power and Simon Pagenaud had company at the top of the speed charts during IndyCar’s two-day test at Barber Motorsports Park.

Scott Dixon.

Power, the defending Verizon IndyCar champion, and Pagenaud topped the charts for the third and first of four sessions respectively.

But it was Dixon, in his No. 9 Target Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, that sped to No. 1 in the second and fourth session, where he grabbed the spot from Power on the very last lap Monday with a time of 1:07.3118 (123.010 mph).

“We spent the morning really chasing the changing track conditions today,” Dixon said afterward. “The track was a lot hotter today compared to yesterday and we had to adjust to that with the Target car.”

While Dixon topped Power’s final session speed, it was the latter who left the Alabama circuit with the overall best lap time of the test, at 1:07.3118 (123.010 mph).

“There are so many variables with the new aero kits as well,” Dixon said of the package that was revealed last week. “We worked a lot on aero and tried to do as many things as we could with the tire allotment we were given here. Overall I think it was a good test for the Target team and I’m looking forward to coming back for the race here next month.”

In five-career starts the Birmingham, Dixon has never started worse than fifth, led 39 laps and finished on the podium every time, just not as the winner. Power on the other hand has three poles in five starts and two wins, coming in 2011 and 2012.

“The aero kits produce so much more downforce and there’s a lot of grip, so the cars are faster everywhere,” Power said. “I would expect to break lap records just about everywhere.

“I think we found some good stuff as a team for St. Petersburg and when we come back to race here.”

The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be held on April 26.