IRL: Kentucky: AGR, Franchitti race report

Franchitti, ArcaEx, Record Sixth-Place Finish at Kentucky SPARTA, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti banked on conserving fuel to make a run to the finish, only to see a late caution period foil the plan. Nonetheless, he...

Franchitti, ArcaEx, Record Sixth-Place Finish at Kentucky

SPARTA, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti banked on conserving fuel to make a run to the finish, only to see a late caution period foil the plan. Nonetheless, he earned a solid sixth-place finish Sunday afternoon at the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Franchitti started the event from fifth place and kept the #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone in the top-10 throughout the day. And, thanks to outstanding pit stops by the ArcaEx crew, Franchitti moved toward the front.

A green flag pit stop on lap 91 found Franchitti entering pit lane in eighth place, and when the field had cycled through he was shown in the second spot. He then slipped back slightly, conserving fuel in hopes of making it to the finish on just one additional fuel stop. Again lying in eighth, another pit sequence on lap 142 saw him rejoin the field in fourth position.

A final caution flag on lap 158 allowed the field to pit together, ending any hopes of taking victory on fuel strategy. Nonetheless, he was in sixth place when the checkered flag fell, earning his fifth top-10 finish of the season.

Adrian Fernandez earned his first IRL IndyCar Series victory, Buddy Rice was second, Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon finished third, rookie Kosuke Matsuura took fourth and Team 7- Eleven driver Tony Kanaan was fifth, followed by Franchitti. Honda-powered machines swept the top six positions, enabling Honda to capture its first-ever IRL IndyCar Series Manufacturers' Championship with five races remaining in the 2004 season.

Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams return to action August 22 at Pikes Peak International Raceway for the Pikes Peak Honda Indy 225. The event will be televised live by ABC Sports, beginning at 3:30 EDT.

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

"We didn't need that last yellow, as we had been saving fuel for a run to the end. But, it was a great run for the ArcaEx team in that we finished strong. We were really strong in the pits; that's where we made most of our passes. The guys have really been working hard on their pit stops and today was awesome. It was a hard day out there, but the ArcaEx car really came alive on long runs, with about 15 laps to go in a stint. If it had gone green to the end, we might have caught the leaders."

Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:

"We were going for fuel mileage at the end. I don't know if that was the right or wrong thing to do, as the guy who won didn't use that strategy. But we had that last yellow and that messed that plan up. The ArcaEx car was really good, all four Andretti Green Racing cars ran strong today and that's the whole idea."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Jim Beam