IRL: Chicagoland: AGR, Franchitti race report

Gearbox Failure Spells Early End for Franchitti At Chicagoland Speedway JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 12, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti saw a promising race come to an early end courtesy of a broken gearbox...

Gearbox Failure Spells Early End for Franchitti At Chicagoland Speedway

JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 12, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti saw a promising race come to an early end courtesy of a broken gearbox Sunday afternoon at the Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Franchitti started the event from fourth place, but saw his #27 ArcaEx Honda- powered Dallara shuffled back to the midfield during the early portion of the race. Solid pit work by the ArcaEx crew helped return the ArcaEx machine among the lead pack of cars.

A yellow flag pit sequence on lap 89 saw the ArcaEx crew devise a pit strategy designed to allow Franchitti to make it through the 200-lap event using just one more pit stop. The strategy started to play out when the caution flag came out yet again on lap 112.

While a majority of the field headed to pit lane, Franchitti and a select few drivers elected to forego pit stops and remain on the track. This moved the Scotsman into second place, trailing only leader Felipe Giaffone. As the field took the green flag on lap 119, Franchitti pulled alongside Giaffone heading into Turn 1 and looked to take the lead.

Unfortunately, as he upshifted through the gears, he found that fifth and sixth gears were no longer operable, thus ending his day.

Honda-powered Adrian Fernandez earned the victory, his second win of the season. Andretti Green Racing teammates Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon were second, third and fourth respectively, while Vitor Meira rounded out the top five.

Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar® Series teams return to action Oct. 3 at California Speedway. The event will be televised live by ESPN, beginning at 3 p.m. (EDT).

Dario Franchitti, #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"It was a very frustrating day. I got shuffled back in the pack at one point, but managed to work my way toward the front. Kyle Moyer made the call to go with a different pit strategy and I got up to second place. Then, under yellow I was running in sixth (gear) and just lost the gear. On the restart, I managed to get around Giaffone, but when I got to fourth gear, that was all I had. I didn't shift or miss a shift so I don't really know what happened, but the gearbox broke."

Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:

"I don't know, but it seems like since Michael retired we picked up some of the 'Andretti luck' on the Franchitti side. But, the ArcaEx car was okay. We were just trying to stay out of trouble all day and then we lost the gearbox. The team did a really great job overall. Andretti Green took a big step toward a championship today, so you can't be much happier with that."

-agr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Vitor Meira