IRL: Indy 500: AGR, Herta race report

XM Satellite Radio Driver Bryan Herta Finishes Fourth in Rain-Shortened Indianapolis 500 SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 30, 2004) - XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta earned his best finish of the year in the weather-plagued 88th running of the ...

XM Satellite Radio Driver Bryan Herta Finishes Fourth in Rain-Shortened Indianapolis 500

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 30, 2004) - XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta earned his best finish of the year in the weather-plagued 88th running of the Indianapolis 500. Herta overcame a tough month of May to earn the seventh top-five finish of his short IndyCar® Series career.

Herta started 23rd in the XM Satellite Radio Honda-powered Dallara after an accident on Pole day relegated him to his qualify his backup car on the second day of qualifications. Once the backup car was qualified it was damaged during practice after a mechanical failure forced the car into the Turn 3 wall. The XM crew repaired and rebuilt the car in time for the race and their hard work was rewarded with good fortune.

The team decided to gamble during the first yellow flag of the day on lap 11 and chose not to pit to gain track position. Just as Herta was about to come onto pit lane, rain began to fall bringing out the red flag and allowing the team to hold their position on the track and still make any adjustments they could on pit lane. Once the race was restarted nearly two hours later, Herta never ran outside of the top-six cars, leading three laps en-route to the fourth-place result.

Buddy Rice won from pole with Andretti Green Racing finishing in the next three spots. Herta's teammate Tony Kanaan was second in the Team 7-Eleven entry just ahead of Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon who was third. In all, Honda powered the first seven drivers across the finish line.

The IndyCar® Series moves on to Texas Motor Speedway for the always exciting Bombardier 500 on June 12.

Bryan Herta, Driver, #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"With the month I've had this feels like a win for the XM Satellite Radio team. I went into the wall hard on 'Pole Day' and then a second time during practice. But during the race it all came right. I would have liked to win, but the right guy won the race today. Buddy Rice had the fastest car and that's the way the Indy 500 should be. We caught a break out there with the red flag today. George (Klotz, team manager) made a gutsy call to not pit under the first caution and we were be able to add fuel and put new tires on without making a pit stop. That moved us up to sixth and then the XM car was really good."

George Klotz, Team Manager, #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"It was an all-around great team effort. I can't say enough about this XM Satellite Radio team. We had great pit stops by the guys and Bryan drove a great race combined with some luck with our pit strategy. We were there at the end, but we just weren't able to finish it off. But we're still really happy and it was a great day."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jim Beam