FRANCHITTI WINS HIS "HOME" RACE AT NASHVILLE LEBANON, Tenn., Saturday, July 16, 2005 -- Dario Franchitti passed Patrick Carpentier on lap 194 and held on for the victory in the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway. "We've had a fast...
FRANCHITTI WINS HIS "HOME" RACE AT NASHVILLE
LEBANON, Tenn., Saturday, July 16, 2005 -- Dario Franchitti passed Patrick Carpentier on lap 194 and held on for the victory in the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.
"We've had a fast car all year, but for some reason or another, we couldn't get to victory lane," Franchitti said. "We had a wheel bearing failure in warmup, so we feel like we got our bad luck out of the way early."
Sam Hornish Jr., who started 13th, passed Carpentier on the final lap to grab second. Carpentier was third, followed by Scott Sharp and Helio Castroneves. Danica Patrick, who led midway through the race, finished seventh.
"Dario had the big track position there on the last restart," Hornish said. "We were starting seventh. Definitely wish we could've done a little bit better, but Dario was up there all day long. Wish we could have given him a little bit of a run there at the end though."
Tony Kanaan led at the halfway point, but 16 laps later his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone veered to the right entering Turn 1 and made contact with the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by Darren Manning. Kanaan said "something broke" on the right front of the car. Both drivers were uninjured.
Kanaan, who started seventh, jumped to the point on a lap 38 restart after a caution period because of contact of the No. 2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Chevrolet-powered Dallara driven by Tomas Enge with the Turn 1 SAFER Barrier. Enge was transported to University Medical Center in Lebanon for an MRI on his back.
IndyCar Series points leader Dan Wheldon, who had 15 consecutive top-10 finishes dating to last season, retired on lap 96 because of a suspension problem on the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
FIRESTONE INDY 200 POST-RACE QUOTES:
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone, winner Firestone Indy 200): "We've had a fast car all year, but for some reason or another, we couldn't get to victory lane. We had a wheel bearing failure in warmup, so we feel like we got our bad luck out of the way early. When I saw Tony (Kanaan) go out, I was shocked. Things like that were going to happen." (About passing Carpentier for lead): "He was doing the same strategy that I would be doing if I owned a car. He and I were close in 1-2, but he raced clean."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished second.): ""I thought that we could have done a little bit better. We had a really good handling car. The Marlboro Team Penske crew did an awesome job for me in the pits and everything. Dario had the big track position there on the last restart. We were starting seventh. Definitely wish we could've done a little bit better, but Dario was up there all day long. Wish we could have given him a little bit of a run there at the end though. The fuel nozzle got stuck as he was pulling it out, so that slowed us down a little bit, and then I got a little frustrated that that happened and we lost some spots and pushed it too hard and lost four spots, so we had a lot to make up on that last restart. If I hadn't made my mistake, I think that we would have probably at least given Dario a good run for it if not maybe win the race."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/ Firestone, finished third): "I'm very happy. We led some laps. We still don't have the fastest car out there, but the team played amazingly into the strategy, and we had a lot of luck. You need a bit of luck to do it. At the end there, I hit Ryan Briscoe, one of the Target cars, and it destroyed my nose. They lifted, and I never expected them to lift, and I rear ended them. I came into the pits, changed the nose and fueled it and had enough fuel to go to the end, so it was good. I didn't come in when the pits were closed. I waited even though the car was wobbling."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth): "It was a great car, the best short-track car I've had in I don't know how many years. We were running third, catching the leaders, and I got taken out by a lapped car. We gave them so many points. It was just great today. The crew keeps giving me these great pit stops. My engineers are really tuning the car well. I had a shot on Dario there, hoping to get him. I got up sort of to his right rear wheel, and I knew that he was going to come across, and he did. You know, what are you going to do? I would probably do the same thing with a few laps to go."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, finished sixth): "I struggled with the final two restarts at the end there because we decided to only take on fuel only on that last stop, but I'm pretty satisfied with the race we ran. The Target team gave me a good car and this result is certainly something to build on. We just want to keep moving forward."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, finished eighth): "The Target team prepared a great car for me today. I had some push at the start that held me up, but we fixed that in the early stops. I was working my way up when I was passing (Tomas) Scheckter on the outside and he pushed me up into the wall. I had to come in for a new tire and almost lost a lap. It was disappointing because we really had the car for a top-five finish, but the Target Toyota was definitely competitive, and we'll look to be stronger in Milwaukee."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished 16th): "I have to see the replay and everything, but what I can say, is it was a race accident. I was on the outside and nobody wanted to give room. It wouldn't be fair for me to say what I want to say now."
ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished 15th): "I was running right behind Patrick going into Turn 3 and there was no room. A Penske car tried to stuff it in there, and there was no where to go and someone got in my left rear, I turned in where I was supposed to turn in, and next thing you know I am turned sideways and I wrecked. It's really unfortunate because we had a really strong night and I think we had a shot at a second or third."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished fifth): "I'm extremely happy with a fifth place finish. We struggled to find speed early in the weekend but we kept fighting. For the race, the team did a great job with the setup of the car, and it handled really well. The only problem was with the gearing. We made sixth gear too short, so I was hitting the rev limiter the whole night. My crew did a fantastic job on pit stops and a lot of credit goes to them for this finish. Maximizing our points this weekend was also important - especially since a couple of the cars in front of us in the championship went out early. I'm looking forward to getting back on a short oval in Milwaukee. We have been performing well on those types of tracks, so hopefully we'll have a strong finish next weekend."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished 10th): "It's a good night for us. This is our first top 10 and best finish of the year. It was a struggle. I feel lucky to make it out of the race. There was really some bad driving out there tonight. I had a lot of close calls with guys just making bad decisions, and ultimately, I think that's why so many guys ended up crashing. You hate to see it happen, but when people are driving like idiots they deserve to knock themselves out. That's the bottom line." (About Vision Racing's day): "It was a good weekend for us. We've been getting better every weekend. This weekend, it wasn't the best car that we've had lately, but we hung in there, tried working with it and ended up getting a decent finish. Persistance pays. Even if you have a bad car, you can never give up on it."
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/ Firestone): "It's just more bad luck for the No. 15 car. Something in the driveshaft broke on the final pit stop. We were working a good strategy when we pitted (on lap 134) the same time as Cheever's guys. I think we could have gone to the finish that way. The car was sliding around too much in the early part of the race. But when the sun went down, the car just clicked in and felt very good. But we just didn't a chance to see it to the finish. We didn't have the best car throughout the weekend but it started to feel good in the middle of the race. It's just the way the season has gone for us so far."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/ Firestone): "Finally, we had a decent finish for the team. The guys have been working really hard, and despite some minor problems during the race with our radio, we got the job done. The key thing is that we got the car home. We should finish in 10th, since we got passed under the yellow, and hopefully that will sort itself out. It felt good to finish, and hopefully now we can settle into that role and finish in the top ten for the rest of the season."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, finished 17th): "The guys are still looking at the car right now, so who knows what happened. Looked like an oil line might have broken in the Pennzoil Platinum car, because we lost oil pressure immediately. The Pennzoil Chevy was great, it was another race where we were just waiting for the moment to turn it up and never got there. We missed a great opportunity to make a big jump in points, but we'll be back in Milwaukee."
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 95 Pennzoil/Byrd's/American Sentry Guard Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, finished ninth): "We just got had on the restarts tonight, but other than that it was a great run. Every time we would restart I would get bogged down between third and fourth gear. There aren't a lot of places to pass here and if you want to get by somebody, the restart is the place to do it. Other than that we had a Top Five car tonight, the entire Pennzoil Panther package was great and Chevy gave us everything we needed. I always prided myself on being good on the restarts but tonight there was no way we could get them. It's still a solid run, and we'll have something special for Chevrolet in Michigan."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We lost the right-front wheel bearing which is not something that we've ever failed before, so it's a huge disappointment. I take some comfort in the fact that the XM Satellite Radio car was more competitive in the race than we've been recently, so we're happy about that, but we've obviously got to finish these things."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We're pretty sure that we lost the outside-rear upright and it's unfortunate. I'm not sure that we had a car capable of winning, but the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car was competitive, and we could have picked up some valuable points. It's just a shame."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The yellow came out for debris, I slowed down and I think debris hit my front suspension and shattered it. It just broke. It's a shame. We had a good race going, shooting for our second in a row. Let's pull for Dario, he has a pretty good car, and he can win this for us."
DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone): "The yellow came out and the dash lights came on so I started to slow down. I knew Tony was close and thought he caught up to quickly and, as a matter of fact, I got back on the gas a little bit seeing as he was closing a bit fast. He said he hit some debris and he caught me by surprise, but it was just one of those particular situations."
The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with ABC Supply A.J. Foyt 225 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) July 16 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The race will also be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152, "XM Extreme." The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series event is the Milwaukee 100 on July 24 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis at 3 p.m. on July 28.