IRL: Kentucky: AGR, Herta race report

SPARTA, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2004) - For the first 140 laps of Sunday's Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway, XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta looked to be on his way to challenging for his first win of the 2004 season. But, a pit stop with...

SPARTA, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2004) - For the first 140 laps of Sunday's Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway, XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta looked to be on his way to challenging for his first win of the 2004 season. But, a pit stop with 58 laps remaining changed his fortune and left him to battle for what would become a ninth-place finish.

Herta entered the race with a huge challenge in front of him, as a pre-qualifying engine change forced him to start the 200-lap race from the 21st position. However, his car tested and practiced well at Kentucky prior to the event and lived up to expectations.

Herta and his XM Satellite Radio teammates moved into the top 10 by the 40-lap mark and quickly erased the poor starting position. Over the next 100 laps, Herta mounted a charge toward the top five and found his way to fourth by lap 142 when he came to pit road under caution with the rest of the leaders. But, Herta's car stalled as it left the pit box and had to be re-started, which cost him nine spots on the track. Racing from the 13th position with just over 50 laps to go, Herta tried to minimize the damage to his day and eventually worked his way back to ninth by the finish.

Honda driver Adrian Fernandez captured his first-career IndyCar Series victory on Sunday just ahead of Buddy Rice. Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon was third, followed by Kosuke Matsuura and Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan. The win clinched the IRL Manufacturers' Championship for Honda, which has now won 10-conseuctive IndyCar Series event. Andretti Green Racing holds six of those victories.

The IndyCar Series moves next to Pikes Peak International Raceway for Round 12 of the 2004 championship. Practice and qualifying are slated for next Saturday with the race to follow on Sunday afternoon. Live coverage will be provided by ABC Sports.

Bryan Herta, #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"I did it right the first time, then stalled in the pits and gave it all back. I just didn't have enough time to get back to them at the end. If we had just had some track position early on, I think we'd have something for them today. The XM Satellite Radio car was very, very competitive, so I'm disappointed to have not finished better."

George Klotz, Team Manager, #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"The XM Satellite Radio car was very good today and it obviously showed when Bryan drove it into the top five. The guys did a great job in the pits all day. Everyone just did a good job, but it just wasn't our day. We had a couple things go wrong and that's where we ended."

-AGR-

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