INDIANAPOLIS -- 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 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan staged a rally on Carb Day. Kanaan was left atop the leader board 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 Ganassi turnaround brought back memories of 2012, when the team struggled through practice and qualifying. 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. In the race, Franchitti went on to win his third Indy 500 and Dixon was second.
Townsend Bell, three-time winner 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 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 NASCAR Sprint Cup's Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, North Carolina, 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."
"I don't know why more NASCAR guys don't do it," former IndyCar champion Hunter-Reay said. "You only live once. It's two of the biggest races in the world, so why not do it?"
"We haven't gotten clarification on that. You can defend now," Dixon said.
If blocking occurs, Kanaan hopes it's fair.
"I don't think it's fair enough sometimes to be the leader that he'll be exposed and he's going to lose the race because he was in the lead. It does not make any sense," Kanaan said. "There is a certain amount of defending that should be allowed."
The original deal called for Tracy to work in the booth for six races, but it was expanded to include NBC's limited coverage of preparations for the Indy 500, as well as two additional events later this season.
Tracy, whose first race broadcast was at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, said he struggled initially, but "I'll get it figured out."
"They have been amazing all year," Dixon said of his crew. Karam competed in an entry that is jointly fielded by Ganassi Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing, leaving Ganassi to joke, "It was going to be hard for me to lose it this year."