IRL: Motegi: AGR, Franchitti race report

FRANCHITTI DOMINATES EARLY BUT COMES UP SHORT IN MOTEGI MOTEGI, Japan (April 30, 2005) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti had the dominant car for the first 123 laps in Saturday's running of the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series Indy Japan...

FRANCHITTI DOMINATES EARLY BUT COMES UP SHORT IN MOTEGI

MOTEGI, Japan (April 30, 2005) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti had the dominant car for the first 123 laps in Saturday's running of the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, but contact with the Turn 4 wall erased what was a splendid drive and relegated Franchitti to a 17th place finish.

Franchitti started the event from eighth place and wasted little time in charging to the front of the field. He piloted the ArcaEx machine into the top five within the first 30 laps of the event before taking over the lead position on the 47th lap. He remained at the front of the field for a total of 67 laps to lead the most laps during the contest. But the day would end too soon as Klein Tools/Jim Beam teammate and eventual winner Dan Wheldon, running in second place, made an aggressive move underneath Franchitti on a restart on lap 123. Franchitti looked to take the high line through the turn, but the ArcaEx car got up into the marbles and made hard contact with the outside retaining wall.

Wheldon went on to earn the victory, his third of the 2005 season, with Scott Sharp second, Buddy Rice third, Danica Patrick fourth and XM Satellite Radio teammate Bryan Herta coming home fifth.

Through four events, Franchitti has 95 points, residing ninth in the driver point standings, but is just six points shy of fifth-place Helio Castroneves.

Next up for Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams is the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. The event will be televised live by ABC Sports, beginning at 12 p.m. (EDT). It can also be heard live by XM Satellite Radio subscribers by tuning into Extreme XM, channel 152.

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

"The ArcaEx car was absolutely fantastic all day. Our only weak points were the restarts, but we seemed to be able to recover from those within a short number of laps. On the last restart, Dan got a good run and went on my inside. It was a pretty aggressive move by him, but at the same point I could have backed out of it and I think I would have been able to pass him later. I made the mistake of trying to stay on the outside, got up in the marbles and that was it. "

Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:

"The ArcaEx car was once again the fastest car on the race track and we didn't capitalize with it and that's getting old. We're coming up to a 'big money' race and we'll come out fighting. As long as we have the best car there I don't know what else can go wrong. Hopefully we're through with our bad luck."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Buddy Rice , Jim Beam , Danica Patrick