Dario Does “The Mile”
Dario Franchitti dominated the first half of Sunday’s Milwaukee 225, then was quick to take advantage when problems stuck both Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves to score his third win in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series and move into a tie with Will Power for the drivers’ championship points lead at The Milwaukee Mile.
Continuing a six-season tradition of equality and reliability, all 25 Honda-powered drivers completed the race weekend on the challenging, flat Milwaukee Mile without a single failure of the Honda Indy V-8 engine. The teams logged a total of 8,899 trouble-free miles during the Milwaukee race weekend.
In addition, the engine in Franchitti’s Honda Dallara at Milwaukee was the same one he used in the Indianapolis 500 and the twin Texas races earlier this month. The engine had 1,475 miles on it at the conclusion of Sunday’s race, and Franchitti was pulling away from the field at the checkers, once again emphazing Honda’s tradition of providing both power and reliability for the full IZOD IndyCar Series field.
Starting from the pole, Franchitti quickly took command of today’s 225-mile race, leading the first 68 laps, and at one point having a five-second advantage over Castroneves. But the race became much more competitive after the first round of pit stops, as both Kanaan and Castroneves took turns at the front.
Kanaan was the first to stumble, spinning and crashing without injury on Lap 194. Castroneves then took command, but a deflating left rear tire in the closing laps necessitated an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 199 and led to a ninth-place finish. Franchitti once again took over at the front and pulled away from fellow Chip Ganassi Racing driver Graham Rahal for his second career win at Milwaukee and 29th career IndyCar victory, tying Rick Mears for ninth on the all-time win list.
Coming home third, his best result this season, was Oriol Servia for the Chicago-based Newman Haas Racing, which considers Milwaukee to be its “home” track. Servia’s best previous finishes this year were a pair of fifths, at Barber Motorsports Park and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Will Power recovered from a poor qualifying run that saw him start 17th to finish fourth; while a fifth-place finish for Danica Patrick was her best result of 2011. James Hinchcliffe completed a strong performance for Newman Haas Racing with his sixth-place finish, the best rookie result. Clever mid-race strategy from KV Racing, running 75 laps between pit stops, helped Takuma Sato regain the lead lap after being penalized for a pit lane infraction to finish eighth.
Next week, the IZOD IndyCar Series will complete its run of Midwestern short-oval-track races with the June 25 Iowa Corn Growers 250 at Iowa Speedway.
-source: honda racing