Franchitti races to first oval victory in front of home folk. Dario Franchitti overcame numerous obstacles today to collect a memorable victory in his native United Kingdom. It is the 10th triumph of Franchitti's CART career but his first on an...
Franchitti races to first oval victory in front of home folk.
Dario Franchitti overcame numerous obstacles today to collect a memorable victory in his native United Kingdom. It is the 10th triumph of Franchitti's CART career but his first on an oval track. The Scotsman has won three times this year on Bridgestone Potenza tires.
Starting fifth, Franchitti fell back when he stalled his Team Kool Green Honda/Reynard on his first pit stop. After that, he opted for a differing pit strategy than the leaders and it paid off. A brilliant final stop put Franchitti in the lead and he held on to win by just under a second ahead of Cristiano da Matta.
"I think the key was when we got some clear track," Franchitti said, "when everybody else came in (to pit). We managed to get about 20 laps with no traffic at all and we put in some really quick times. That put us from the back of the pack to up near the front. Then the last pit stop was awesome. We did have a tire problem on one stint. I don't know if it was a wheel weight that fell off or what it was, but we had to come in for an unscheduled stop. But at the end, the yellows fell just right and on our last pit stop my guys did an awesome job, and I came out in the lead. That was it."
Bridgestone equipped all 19 entries in today's race with Potenza racing radials. Bridgestone entered the FedEx Championship Series this year and is the Official Tire of CART.
Quote from Joe Barbieri, Bridgestone Motorsport Project Supervisor: "The overall performance of the Bridgestone Potenzas was excellent this weekend, but we did encounter a few isolated issues that will require further analysis, including one tire from Dario's car. We'd like to congratulate Dario and Team Green for overcoming several setbacks today to win the race in his homeland. Because this is just the second race at Rockingham and most of last year's sessions were canceled by the weather, we are still in a learning process at this oval. Unlike last year, however, teams were able to put many laps in throughout the weekend and our engineering group will have much more data to evaluate and make continued improvements to the tires for this and every track on which Bridgestone competes."
Quote from Cristiano da Matta, second place, Havoline Toyota/Lola/ Bridgestone: "The tires were very consistent. I would say there was almost no balance change from the first lap to the last lap of the stints. Very good."
Quote from Patrick Carpentier, third place, Player's/Forsythe Ford/ Reynard/Bridgestone: "This year the Bridgestone tires have been so consistent. We didn't even do full-tank runs here (in practice) because we knew the tire was going to stay the same anyway."
Race temperatures ranged from 64 to 68 degrees track and from 62 to 64 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 18 to 20 degrees track and from 17 to 18 degrees ambient (C).