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Dixon overcomes ankle injury to finish second in Detroit 1

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Even though he walked from it, Scott Dixon’s terrifying crash at last week’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil left him with a painful left ankle injury that had him in a walking boot later in the day. He subsequently spent the next few days on crutches while the injury healed, and while his ability to race at this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear was never in doubt, the task at hand seemed all the more daunting.

Though the back stretch of the Belle Isle street circuit had been smoothed over, the track remained notoriously bumpy, like all street circuits. And given that Dixon is a left-foot braker, it seemed like it would be a punishing day for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver.

However, he endured the pain, which he previously explained only occurred when he lifted his foot off the brake pedal, to run a very strong race to finish second. Although he was never able to challenge race winner Graham Rahal, Dixon’s run to second was no less impressive given his injury.

“It’s been good to be back in a car,” said Dixon, who then credited the No. 9 Camping World Honda team for their efforts in building a new chassis. “Huge credit to the Camping World crew. They’ve had a rough week obviously having to build a new car. Everybody at Chip Ganassi for pitching in.”

Dixon added that the injury does make things difficult for him behind the wheel and that he was glad to have a good handling car, which made coping with things easier.

“You know, the foot’s not great, but it’s working. So it’s just hard to get the last part out of the car and the performance out of it. Very lucky that everybody in the Chip Ganassi side and the Camping World crew have given me a good car for today.

Race 2 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear rolls of tomorrow at 3:30 ET.

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Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.