INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Scott Dixon insists that Ganassi Racing wasn't trying to bamboozle anybody.
After struggling last week and failing to put a car in the fast nine for qualifying, the team led by defending Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan staged a rally on Carb Day. Kanaan was left atop the leaderboard Friday with a lap of 227.838 mph, while Dixon was next-fastest at 227.773 mph.
"We definitely didn't do it on purpose," said Dixon, who will start in the middle of the fourth row Sunday. "We would like to roll out straightaway and be quick. I think we are normally."
Kanaan will start on the inside of the sixth row as he attempts to become the first back-to-back winner since Helio Castroneves in 2003. Teammate Charlie Kimball will start in the ninth row.
"We feel good about it," Kanaan said. "We worked pretty hard together to make up for our Saturday qualifying. We have great people back in the engineering office at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and it really showed a little bit after qualifying and today."
The turnaround by the Ganassi stable brought back memories of 2012, when the team struggled throughout the month of May. But by the time Carb Day rolled around, Dario Franchitti had posted the fastest lap of the day, and Dixon was close behind in second.
That was how they would finish on Sunday. Franchitti went on to win his third Indy 500, and Takuma Sato's last-lap spin into the Turn 1 wall allowed Dixon to finish second.
Townsend Bell, three-time winner Helio Castroneves and rookie Mikhail Aleshin joined Kanaan and Dixon among the five fastest laps Friday. Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti were next on the speed chart, while Juan Pablo Montoya was ninth-quickest.
Kurt Busch stepped into Andretti's backup car and climbed to 15th on the chart. Busch wrecked his primary car in practice on Monday, forcing his team to convert a car that Andretti had planned to use at Detroit from a road-course setup to an oval setup.
"Just had to get back on my horse," said Busch, who will attempt to run the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on Sunday. "As the NASCAR guys always say, 'Got to thank my crew,' but honestly, this is a thank-the-crew moment from Andretti Autosport."
On a busy Carb Day at Indianapolis, here are five more things that happened:
ANOTHER DOUBLE: As Busch becomes the fourth driver to attempt double duty, there's been speculation more NASCAR drivers may someday try the grueling feat. Busch's younger brother, Kyle, has said he'll make an attempt if he ever wins a Sprint Cup championship. "I don't know why more NASCAR guys don't do it," former IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay said. "You only live once. It's two of the biggest races in the world, so why not do it?"