SCHECKTER LEADS FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE AT CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY

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Target Chip Ganassi driver Tomas Scheckter turned the fastest lap in Friday practice for the IRL IndyCar TM Series Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Veteran Richie Hearn, returning to the cockpit for the first time since the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, was second on the speed chart.

Scheckter, 22, turned a fast lap of 24.4493 seconds, 223.810 mph in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Hearn?s fastest lap was 24.4820, 223.511 in the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

?It was a good day,? Scheckter said. ?Ninety percent of today was race setup. I didn?t really expect to be on the top of the speed chart.?

Hearn, who is substituting for injured Team Menard driver Vitor Meira this weekend, has driven in one race this season. He started and finished 28th at the 87th Indianapolis 500 May 25 after an accident ended his day on Lap 61.

Hearn competed at Chicagoland in 2001, starting 20th and finishing sixth.

?I haven?t even been to a race since Indy,? Hearn said. ?It is tough to wait for an opportunity if someone gets hurt, because you don?t want that. I?m just grateful that Team Menard has given me a shot.

?I?m definitely surprised to be as quick as we are, but we tested here last week and got a lot of the bugs out. We just unloaded quick. The Chevy engine is running really solid. I?m looking forward to qualifying, for sure.?

Kenny Brack was third at 24.5524, 222.870 in the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Bryan Herta followed at 24.5596, 222.805 in the No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, while Scott Dixon rounded out the top five at 24.5796, 222.624 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Panoz G/Toyota/Firestone.

The only accident of the day came in the first practice session when Greg Ray made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 4.

He was uninjured. Team officials said the car was irreparable. Ray will not compete in Sunday?s race.

In Friday?s two practice sessions, 24 drivers turned a total of 1,703 laps of the 1.5-mile Chicago-area oval. Each of the top five laps was turned during the afternoon practice.

The Delphi Indy 300 starts at 2 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 7 and will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network. MBNA Pole Qualifying is set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6, preceded by a practice at 11:15 a.m.

Click here for information about the September 5-7 ARCA/IRL weekend.

Chicagoland Speedway
500 Speedway Blvd, Joliet, Illinois 60433 Tickets & Information Call 888.629.RACE (7223)

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