Dixon fastest in Barber opening practice in the Coca-Cola car

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Scott Dixon has opened the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend with the fastest time in this morning’s first one-hour Verizon IndyCar Series practice at Barber Motorsports Park.

Dixon, the Long Beach winner who is a four-time Barber runner-up and yet to win here, posted a 1:07.7754 in the No. 9 Coca-Cola Chevrolet around the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road circuit.

Coca-Cola signage is present on the Target car this weekend, and it’s also made the rounds to the NBCSN broadcast booth of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Steve Matchett this weekend. Pit reporter Kevin Lee also posted a pic of the specialized Coca-Cola bottle.

Past Barber winner Will Power was second at 1:07.9929 in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, and was the only other driver in the 1:07 bracket in the first session. Barber debutante Luca Filippi, in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, was third.

Of note, Sage Karam was 20th in his first session back in the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Chevrolet after missing Long Beach. The latest driver of the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, series debutante Rodolfo Gonzalez, ended a second clear of teammate Francesco Dracone.

There were no major incidents in a cool session. The start of the session was delayed nine minutes due to track preparations, while the session was declared a “dry session” at the start from a drying track.

Second practice runs from 12:40 to 1:25 p.m. this afternoon. Qualifying will air today at 5 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. CT and local time, on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

Times from FP1 are below.

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Formula One names Stefano Domenicali as its new CEO

Stefano Domenicali named F1 CEO
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images
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Former Ferarri chief Stefano Domenicali was named the new president and CEO of F1, replacing Chase Carey in January 2021, Liberty Media announced Friday.

Domenicali, 55, will join Formula One from Lamborghini, where he had been CEO and president.

He worked on Ferrari’s F1 team for nearly 20 years, becoming the team principal in 2008. He left in 2014 and worked at Audi before joining Lamborghini.

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“I am thrilled to join the Formula 1 organization, a sport that has always been part of my life,” Domenicali said in a release. “I was born in Imola and live in Monza.  I’ve remained connected to the sport through my work with the Single Seater Commission at the FIA and I look forward to connecting with the teams, promoters, sponsors and many partners in Formula 1 as we continue to drive the business ahead.

“The past six years at Audi and then leading Lamborghini have given me broader perspective and experience that I will bring to Formula 1.”

Carey, who had led F1 since Liberty’s Formula One Group took control of the organization in 2017, will move to the role of non-executive chairman.

“Chase has done a phenomenal job leading F1,” Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei said in a statement. “He assembled a first-class commercial and sporting organization that has a long list of achievements, including broadening the appeal of the sport, growing its digital presence, establishing new technical regulations, securing a cost cap for the first time and reaching a new more equitable Concorde agreement with the teams.  His actions have reinforced F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport.”

Said Carey: “It has been an honor to lead Formula 1, a truly global sport with a storied past over the last seventy years. I’m proud of the team that’s not only navigated through an immensely challenging 2020 but returned with added purpose and determination in the areas of sustainability, diversity and inclusion.  I’m confident that we’ve built the strong foundation for the business to grow over the long term.”