Franchitti Wins at Home Overcoming delays during his first two pit stops that sent him to the rear of the field, Dario Franchitti and his Team KOOL Green gambled on an alternative pit strategy, that coupled with a strong mid-race charge, enabled...
Franchitti Wins at Home
Overcoming delays during his first two pit stops that sent him to the rear of the field, Dario Franchitti and his Team KOOL Green gambled on an alternative pit strategy, that coupled with a strong mid-race charge, enabled the Scottish driver to pull off out a highly popular "home" victory at today's Sure for Men/Rockingham 500 in Corby, England.
By electing to go "off sequence" on his pit stops, Franchitti was forced to make an additional stop over the rest of the field, but then was able to run a series of ulta-quick laps on a clear track when the rest of the field made their stops. That moved the Honda-powered driver up to fourth overall, and a letter-perfect final stop by his Team KOOL Green crew put Franchitti in the lead for good over the final 39 laps.
Michael Andretti ran second during the opening 50 laps today, but fell off the lead lap after being black-flagged for a pit lane speeding violation, and the Team Motorola driver ended the day a disappointed tenth. Adrian Fernandez dropped out of the race after also receiving a pit lane penalty. Tony Kanaan and Shinji Nakano both made contact with the wall to end their races, while Paul Tracy was the first retirement today with clutch failure.
Honda Fast Facts
· Today's race win was Dario Franchitti's 10th career CART win, and his third this season, but it was his first ever victory on an oval track.
· It is Honda's fifth race win of 2002, and the 65th win for Honda in 160 CART events since joining the series at the start of the 1994 season.
Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 5th, finished 1st, third win of 2002, fifth Honda race victory: "An interesting day, to say the least! I came in for my first pit stop and the car just stalled. At first we thought it might be the traction control but I switched that off and the car stalled again at the second stop, so it must have been some kind of clutch problem. All that put us at the back of the field so (team manager) Kyle Moyer took a gamble and we went out of sequence on the pit stops. That way, when everyone else pitted I could attack on a clear track. The yellows let us get back 'in sequence' and we were fourth, so that was a big improvement. Then it all came down to the final pit stop and my guys really came through today, it was a peach of a stop and put us at the front. Once into the lead it became a matter of having a clean run to the finish. It's terrific to win at home. I've got to say that this one feels pretty good."
Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) Started 2nd, finished 10th: "I don't have a whole lot to say, it was an unfortunate day, even more so because the car was good enough to win. But the penalty (for speeding on pit lane) put us a lap down and, no matter how hard we tried, we never were able to get that lap back. The car was better than good, we had a winning car today, so that just makes the result even more disappointing."
Tony Kanaan (#10 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Honda) Started 8th, finished 15th (not running - contact): "I don't know exactly what happened. Something let go as I entered Turn 1, but I was able to make the corner. I hung on as long as I could as I tried to get all the way back around to see what the problem was. But by the time I got to Turn 2, the car didn't turn and I went straight into the wall. It wasn't a bad impact. The car's okay and we'll bring it back for the next race. But it's a shame. We struggled with some problems this morning in warm-up. We had some problems in practice and qualifying, too. So it wasn't a very pretty weekend. But we're here to talk about it, then pack up and take this show to my hometown of Miami for the next one."
Shinji Nakano (#52 Twin Ring Motegi/Fernandez Racing Honda) Started 15th, finished 16th (not running - contact): "I was turning and just lost grip at the front of the car. The car went straight into the wall and I don't know why. If I had gotten up into the 'gray' (out of the racing line) then I would have had oversteer, but I didn't get into the gray. The team is checking all the data and hopefully we will find the problem."
Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 7th, finished 19th (not running-clutch): "The clutch blew apart, without any warning. There was just a big 'bang' as it exploded and then I couldn't get any gears, or even neutral. It was so early in the race I can't really say what kind of day we might have had. The car wasn't perfect, but we were going to make some changes at the first stop. Unfortunately, I didn't make it that far today."