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Ganassi trio makes strides in Barber

Apr 6, 2013, 7:00 AM EDT

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama - Day 1 Getty Images

Rare are the words “Chip Ganassi Racing” and “struggling” used in the same sentence, but that was their story two weeks ago at St. Petersburg.

Flash forward to Barber and with Honda’s improvements and running on Firestone’s road course rather than street course tires, all three of the CGR cars made strides even though the final timesheets didn’t reflect it.

Scott Dixon ended sixth while Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball fell off from practice one to two. Still, they explained the positive developments made going into Saturday’s qualifying.

“We worked on the overall balance of the car and we still have some work to do,” said Dixon, the lone Target-liveried driver this weekend. “I feel pretty good about qualifying because we didn’t even use new tires and we left a lot of speed out on the table. We should be in good shape for tomorrow.”

Franchitti and Kimball are running near identical liveries this weekend – each in orange and blue colors. Franchitti’s in a Banana Boat paint scheme while Kimball’s usual Novo Nordisk colors have been inverted as part of a team-wide “Race with Insulin” weekend awareness promotion.

“We made a massive amount of changes throughout the day to the Banana Boat car,” said Franchitti. “We have a very clear direction on where we want to go.  Hopefully we can make good use of that tomorrow.”

“We had the fourth-quickest time in practice one this morning and then in practice two we got caught up with some yellows and some traffic,” added Kimball. “We have a couple different directions, with the car set-up, to go over tonight.  I’ll think we’ll be in good shape when it comes time to qualify tomorrow morning.”