FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2004) - XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta had high hopes Sunday at his "home track" as he looked for his first victory of 2004. However, a mechanical problem with the gearbox on the ...
FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2004) - XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta had high hopes Sunday at his "home track" as he looked for his first victory of 2004. However, a mechanical problem with the gearbox on the #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone on lap 11 of the California Indy 400 dropped him from contention and left him with an eventual 17th place finish.
Herta, who resides in nearby Valencia, Calif., came into Sunday's event at California Speedway riding the momentum of a season-best second-place finish, which came in the last Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 12.
Herta started eighth in the 21-car field and was just settling in for the 200-lap event when the caution flag came out on lap nine. Two laps later, he came to pit lane with the rest of the leaders. But, following the routine stop, he discovered he had no functioning fifth or sixth gear. Herta returned to the pits and the XM Satellite Radio crew went to work on the problem. Herta returned to the action nine laps later, but with little attrition during the event, Herta was forced to settle for 17th.
Adrian Fernandez went on to win the event by .0183 of a second over Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, who clinched the 2004 IndyCar Series championship in the process. Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon was third.
Bryan Herta, #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"The gearbox broke and I lost fifth and sixth gear under yellow. I didn't have any warning. Everything was fine and then it happened. After that we just tried to gain some points. I know we gained some positions, but I don't think we gained any points. We're trying to stay in the top 10 in points, so we were just trying to run as many miles as we could with the XM Satellite Radio car and gain a few more points."
George Klotz, Team Manager, #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"We had to overcome an early gearbox problem. I think the XM Satellite Radio car was pretty good, but we went nine laps down putting in a new gear set. We salvaged what we could of the day; Brian hung in there and the crew hung in there. All in all, I think we did pretty good with what we had."