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Dario Franchitti paces practice in Toronto

Friday - 7/6/2012, 5:32pm  ET

By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer

TORONTO (AP) - Slumping Dario Franchitti had a good day on a track where the four-time IndyCar champion hopes to turn around his season.

Franchitti, the defending race winner, was the fastest in Friday's practice session at Exhibition Place. He was followed by Simon Pagenaud and Franchitti's teammate, Scott Dixon.

Pagenaud later complained about contact with points leader Will Power late in the second practice.

"I don't know, you'll have to ask him," Pagenaud said. "I don't know what he was thinking, but it was a pretty aggressive block, and it was definitely pretty slow there. I don't know."

Power told The Associated Press he wasn't aware the two cars touched.

"Oh, really? Well, I didn't see it," he said.

Power also said he wasn't trying to block Pagenaud, but had slowed because Dixon had slowed in front of him.

Local driver James Hinchcliffe had a rough day, with a mechanical issue sidelining him the entire second practice. He believes he'll have to change his engine this weekend and that would result in a 10-spot penalty on the starting grid.

Hinchcliffe was on track in the first session, but was 15th.

"Unfortunately, today is a day to forget, really," he said. "It's too bad what happened the second session because with the first session not going too smoothly we were really looking to make some gains. It's just putting us on the back foot _ not only with setting the car up but with the engine penalty as well.

"Certainly it makes it more a challenging weekend than we wanted, but at the end of the day it's still possible for the Go Daddy car to move forward. Last time we got an engine penalty (at Long Beach) we were able to come back and finished on the podium _ so we may be down but we're certainly not out."

Meanwhile, Simona de Silvestro got on track with a new Lotus engine that is supposed to be improved after IndyCar allowed the manufacturer to make upgrades. The improvement will come in phases, and de Silvestro's engine this weekend should be the most competitive one she's had this season.

She was 19th in the second session.

"It's kind of hard to say what everybody else did, but I think we improved the car; on the engine side, too," she said. "We made some big progress, so I'm pretty happy about that. We'll have to see in qualifying. That's when we'll know where we're at."

She will be penalized 10 spots on the starting grid because the new Lotus has gone in the car before it reached its mileage limit. Because it's the sixth engine change, she'll also be penalized 10 spots at the next race in Edmonton.

Alex Tagliani will also be penalized for installing a new engine.

___

AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer contributed to this report.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)