Tony Kanaan blazes practice course on Belle Isle

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Detroit – Tony Kanaan topped the charts in practice for the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Indy Car doubleheader Friday morning on Belle Isle.

Kanaan, driving the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, had the fastest lap of the session (1:16.29) around the 2.3-mile road course during the final minutes, besting his teammate, rookie Sage Karam.

Karam, who drives the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet for Ganassi, had the previous fastest lap (1:16.49) before spinning minutes later, but luckily avoiding contact with the concrete walls.

Qualifying for Race No. 1 will take place this afternoon at 3:40 p.m. Race No. 1 will be held Saturday at 3:30 with Race No. 2 set for Sunday at 3:30.

Defending series champion Will Power of Team Penske was third fastest (1:16.76), followed by teammates Simon Pagenaud (1:16.87) and Helio Castroneves (1:16.89).

The top eight drivers of the session all compete with Chevy power. Chevy drivers have won five of the six races this season.

Takuma Sato was the fastest Honda (1:17.14) for A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske was 10th at 1:17.23.

Rookie Rodolfo Gonzalez and Graham Rahal each hit the wall while Jack Hawksworth crashed into the tire barrier.

Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon both spun, but avoided the walls and tires. Newgarden, 24, earned his first career victory in Alabama earlier this season and Dixon posted his 36th career win at Long Beach.

Michigan football player on Power's crew

Power is having an outstanding start to the 2015 season, sitting seconds in points, and former Michigan defensive tackle Quinton Washington is playing a part of the success as his crew member, working in carbon fabrication and as his fuel man on pit lane.

Washington, 24, is hard to miss too, playing his football at 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds. He played sparingly for the Wolverines in 2011 when they won 11 games, including a BCS bowl game win over Virginia Tech, then started 10 games when they finished 8-5 in 2012 with a bowl loss to South Carolina and six more starts in '13 when they were 7-6 with a bowl loss to Kansas State.

Washington, who grew up in South Carolina, said he has always been a race fan and got hired last September when he went to Penske Racing Headquarters in Mooresville, N.C.

"I've always loved cars and enjoyed the team atmosphere," said Washington who talked about how he got his job at Penske. "I just kind of went up there to Penske Headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina and hoped for the best."

Well, things paid off for Washington who will try to help Power repeat as series champion while trying to duplicate last year's success on the island when Power won Race No. 1 and finished second to Castroneves in Race No. 2.

TUDOR practice

Dane Cameron is competing in the highest class — Prototype — in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship and topped the field in practice in a downpour, going around the course in 1 minute, 28.704 seconds in the Corvette DP.

Later in the afternoon in dry conditions, it was the team of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi — Cameron's Action Express Racing teammates — who won the pole for Saturday's race with a time of 1:24.746.

Defending race champion, Ricky and Jordan Taylor, qualified second (1:24.796) in a Corvette, followed by series point leaders Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante (1:25.156), also in a Corvette.

Former IndyCar driver Scott Pruett and Joey Hand had a qualifying time of 1:25.987 in a Ford EcoBoost Riley to qualify fourth, followed by Cameron and Eric Curran at 1:26.009.