Scott Sharp is off and running to what he hopes will be an Indy Racing League title he won't have to share.
Sharp, 30, was co-champion with Buzz Calkins in 1996, the IRL's abbreviated inaugural season, winning the title for then team-owner A.J. Foyt.
Last year, his first driving for Rich Kelley, Sharp was in the hunt for another title until some late-season bad luck.
"We blew a tire and crashed at Texas, then we had a strange gearbox problem at Atlanta," Sharp said Friday after being the fastest in the first day of practice for the season-opening Indy 200 on Sunday at Walt Disney World Speedway. "But those are the kind of things that happen in racing. You can't let them get you down."
Sharp turned a lap of 170.132 mph, the fastest of the day, despite missing virtually the entire morning practice with a fuel-pressure problem.
Mark Dismore was fastest in the morning practice and wound up second overall on Friday with a lap of 168.587.