Strong Run in Archipelago Exchange (Arcaex) Car Ends in Disappointment For Franchitti AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 21, 2004) -Â Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) driver Dario Franchitti spent almost the entire Copper World Indy 200 running in the...
Strong Run in Archipelago Exchange (Arcaex) Car Ends in Disappointment For Franchitti
AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 21, 2004) - Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) driver Dario Franchitti spent almost the entire Copper World Indy 200 running in the top-five and was poised for an even better finish, but found disappointment for the second straight Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series event with less than 20 laps to go.
Franchitti started seventh in the #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone and rode there through the first 75 laps of the race while piloting one of the fastest cars on the track. Following an impressive first pit stop by the ArcaEx crew, Franchitti surfaced in the fifth position and focused his sights on the spots in front of him. By the halfway point of the 200-lap event, he had maneuvered into the fourth position and was gunning for more.
The tight confines of the Phoenix International Raceway one-mile oval made passing a difficult chore at times and left Franchitti with a tough assignment, as he hounded Tomas Scheckter for the third spot for much of the second half of the race. Then, as he looked for a way around Scheckter, an incident between the South African driver and Robbie Buhl on lap 181 left Franchitti with nowhere to go as he arrived at the scene of the accident. Franchitti struck both cars, ending his day and leaving him with a 17th place finish.
Franchitti's teammates, Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, won the Phoenix event for the second straight year. Scott Dixon finished second, while AGR driver Dan Wheldon drove to his third-straight third-place finish in the Klein Tools/Jim Beam machine. He was followed by Alex Barron in fourth and Darren Manning in fifth.
The 2004 IndyCar Series continues April 17 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan, with Round Three of the 16-race schedule.
Dario Franchitti, #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"I'm very disappointed. The ArcaEx car was great. I think we were as good as anybody today. When the yellow came out it was pretty bad timing because (general manager) Kyle (Moyer) and my spotter were talking when the yellow came out and nobody was able to tell me the track had gone yellow. I saw Tomas check up and I hit the brakes, but I couldn't slow down in time. I slid into the back of him.
"We are making our way slowly but surely, but it is frustrating. The good thing is the performance is there, we have run well at both races and today our car was better than it was at Homestead."
Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:
"I was trying to talk with our spotter and the yellow came out and we were late on calling it for Dario. Scheckter was able to check up and we ran into the back of him. It's our fault and that ended our day. We had a good car today. I think it was the best car on the track. It is just that we started back a bit, so next time we need to qualify a little better."