IRL: Homestead: Dario Franchitti race report

Franchitti's Day Ends Early in ArcaEx Car at Homestead-Miami Speedway HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2004) - Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) driver Dario Franchitti waited more than eight months for his chance to get back in the ...

Franchitti's Day Ends Early in ArcaEx Car at Homestead-Miami Speedway

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2004) - Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) driver Dario Franchitti waited more than eight months for his chance to get back in the ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone after an injury sidelined him in 2003. Now, he'll have to wait three more weeks for his next shot at a victory in the Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series after exiting early from the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Franchitti started fourth in the 19-car field Sunday and spent the majority of the first half of the event among the top 10. A mistimed caution flag just after his second pit stop of the day cost him some of the track position he had held most of the day and he dropped back in heavy traffic. On the restart, Franchitti began to move toward the front, only to have misfortune find him a few laps later.

As Franchitti exited turn two on Lap 102, he cleared the car of Kosuke Matsuura and headed down the backstretch. As the two entered Turn Three, Matsuura made a move to the inside and, in the process, made contact with Franchitti and sent him into the outside retaining wall. Franchitti was uninjured, but the damage to the ArcaEx machine was substantial and left him with a 17th-place finish.

Andretti Green Racing's other three drivers completed Sunday's 300-mile event, led by Dan Wheldon, who finished in the third position. Tony Kanaan drove to an eighth-place finish and was followed by Bryan Herta, who finished 13th.

The 2004 IndyCar Series continues March 21 at Phoenix International Raceway with Round 2 of the 16-race schedule.

Dario Franchitti, #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"At the start of the race I was pretty happy. The start went well. I really didn't want to lead the race early, so I was quite happy where I was. We did have a problem on the first stop and lost a few positions, so that put me back in traffic a bit. Some of the guys I was racing around were all over the track, so that made it difficult, as well. But, the car was getting progressively better and I really felt everything was looking pretty good.

(ON THE INCIDENT THAT ENDED HIS DAY) "I passed the '55' car on the outside in Turns One and Two. Going down the back straightaway he got back alongside me again. We turned into Three and Four side by side and then he came up into my left rear. The car initially moved, I corrected it, then it went again, I couldn't correct it and that's when it went back into the wall. That's all there is to it."

Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:

"I'm not sure what happened to Dario. It looks like we might have gotten bumped. We were clear of the '55' coming out of Two and it looks like he tried to get underneath us going into Three and probably couldn't hold his line. It's unfortunate because we were working on getting the ArcaEx car in the right position for the end of the race. But, that's the way things go sometimes."

-AGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Kosuke Matsuura