Dario Franchitti won the Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway after stopping for fuel only during a late race caution period. Thirty laps remained when the field reported to the pits for fuel and tires but Franchitti exited the pits with the lead...
Dario Franchitti won the Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway after stopping for fuel only during a late race caution period. Thirty laps remained when the field reported to the pits for fuel and tires but Franchitti exited the pits with the lead after taking fuel only. Franchitti ran 62 laps on his last set of tires, crossing the finish line 0.0423 of a second ahead of Dan Wheldon.
"That last stop was the key to this race," said Franchitti after earning his third victory of the season. "Chris Simmons, turns out he was the one that made the call. We had a lot of faith in the Firestone tires. He said leave the tires on and got us out front."
Will Power ran near the front all night but his crew had trouble fueling the car during the caution and he had to return to the pits with 5 laps remaining.
"Unfortunately, we had a problem with our fuel late in the race and we had to come back in and lost position," said Power. "That was just a mistake that we couldn't afford. This obviously makes things tougher for the championship, but we're still in front and we proved how competitive we can be on the ovals. We'll move on and we will work harder next week at Kentucky."
Franchitti's 26th Indy car victory places him 11th on the all time victory list (tied with Roger Ward) and moves him to within 23 points of Power, who finished 16th.
Marco Andretti finished third, leading his Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan across the finish line. Andretti was pleased with his on track performance, noting that he lost time on his pit stops.
Without pointing fingers at each other, Hunter-Reay and Kanaan said the race was very intense. "I'm happy with a top-four, but I'm upset with the way some guys drove," said Hunter-Reay. "It was crazy out there. When you put 15 fast cars in a group that you could throw a king-sized blanket over, you're going to have people who are pissed off. You can't do everything right."
Kanaan said his fifth place finish "was a great team effort, but it was a crazy race. It's great for the fans, but it's hard to enjoy it as a driver. For most of the night, you're in survival mode. Everybody is going to get mad at each other at one point or another in a race like this because there is nowhere to hide. People were doing crazy things out there and it's a bit upsetting."
Helio Castroneves was sixth followed by Justin Wilson and Scott Dixon. Vitor Meira and Graham Rahal rounded out the top ten. Danica Patrick finished 14th, she was the last driver on the lead lap.