HORNISH OUTDUELS FRANCHITTI FOR MILWAUKEE WIN WEST ALLIS, Wis., Sunday, July 24, 2005 -- Pole sitter Sam Hornish Jr. led the first 111 laps of the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 in today's IndyCar Series race at The Milwakee Mile. The final eight,...
HORNISH OUTDUELS FRANCHITTI FOR MILWAUKEE WIN
WEST ALLIS, Wis., Sunday, July 24, 2005 -- Pole sitter Sam Hornish Jr. led the first 111 laps of the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 in today's IndyCar Series race at The Milwakee Mile. The final eight, though, were the most important.
Hornish, and defending race winner Dario Franchitti, hooked up in a battle the final 15 laps, with the driver of the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone prevailing by 0.3836 of a second on a hot and humid day on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park.
It was the second victory of the season for Hornish, who was runner-up to Franchitti last week at Nashville Superspeedway. Tomas Scheckter finished third, Tony Kanaan fourth and Dan Wheldon fifth. Hornish and Franchitti moved into a tie for second in the championship standings (309), 68 points behind Wheldon.
With temperatures reaching the mid-90s, the racing surface became slippery. That could have played a part in rookie Danica Patrick exiting on Lap 127 when the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone spun and made contact with the wall between Turns 1 and 2. She exited the car without assistance from the Delphi IRL Safety Team. Patrick was running sixth before suffering her second DNF in 10 races.
ABC SUPPLY CO./A.J. FOYT INDY 225 POST-RACE QUOTES:
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, winner ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Indy 225 ): "It was a heck of a race out there today for Marlboro Team Penske. The team put a good car underneath me today. I battled a lot today. I really wanted to win after we had that little problem with Helio. I don't ever want to see that happen. I feel real bad for that guy. It's close racing, and you can't take it back. You've got to go out there and try and win it, and I was pushing it really hard there at the end. I was trying to baby the gearbox, and make sure I didn't hurt it at all. I wasn't down shifting quite as hard as I needed going into Turn 1, and the car pushed up and got into the marbles. I did all I could trying to save it and keep it off the wall. That's how he (Franchitti) got around me because I still didn't have my momentum back up yet. It was a tough race for us today, but I'm happy."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second): "We were definitely beaten by the better car today. Sam Hornish, the guys in the Penske crew, were just quicker than us. I think Kyle Moyer made a very good call, but we just didn't have enough. We tried our best. The ArcaEx guys, their pit stops were great all day." (About how close he was on fuel) "I don't know. Pretty close by what the dashboard was telling me. Sam made the mistake there in (Turn) 2, and I thought I had him again, but we were still saving fuel, and he was going flat out, and that was it."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, finished third): "We had a good car in the end. From where we went in the beginning, I had to save the car maybe 10, 20 times. These guys just worked on the car and worked on the car with the pressures and the front wing. In the end, I had the best car out there. I could get people high and low. Another 10 laps and I think maybe this race would have been ours. I finished in the top-three, and I am happy with that."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth): "Good job by AGR today. We finished second, fourth and fifth. It's not very good, but we'll take it. The championship looks good. We are all hanging in there, so we'll see. It is going to be a fun year until the end. (About the weather): "Oh god, it was terrible. I've never had a race that hard in my life".
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth): "I'm not sure about the call that we made. I'm not blaming anybody, but I'm not sure that we thought properly about it. When you know your two teammates are staying out, who can stay out and control the pace of the race and save the amount of fuel that you need to, and we didn't do that. It's very, very difficult and I think we should have learned this from practice."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished sixth): "Four in the top six it is really good for us. I would have liked to have been a little higher up in the finishing order. I've really struggled in the last three races, and we needed a good finish. We're going to move forward from here and finish strong." (About the weather): "It was really hot out there. It was really hard, but I like that. When you have to battle like that and the car is sliding around and your tired and everybody is fighting out there, to me that is the most fun racing."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished seventh): "The car was fast, and I think we were pretty close to what the leaders were running. Starting from 14th, we had some problems at the beginning, which cost us a little bit. When you can stick with the leaders, it's a lot easier to stick with them at the end. We lost a lap early, and we couldn't find a way to get it back. Overall, I'm pleased with the result, though. The team is definitely getting better and better, and we need to keep working."
ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished eighth): "We ran a really strong race. The car at the beginning of the race had some understeer, but as the race went on we got faster. I think the most important thing at the end of the day is that we moved up in points. The team put forth a lot of effort this weekend and I think it showed."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished ninth): "Man, that was a long day for us. The car was sliding all over and I was just trying to hang on. Unfortunately, Danica and Buddy had the same problems and with worse results. I'm just glad they are okay. We had some pretty good racing in the middle of the field and actually we could stay ahead of some of the leaders on the long runs. But once you get a lap down, it is very hard to make it up. I was racing with the Cheever guys, Buddy and a few others. We were able to give each other room out there. I just wish that would have been the case last week at Nashville. Overall, we got some points out of here, and we can move onto Michigan where I know we will have good cars. We need a good finish after the last few races."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished 10th): "It was a tough day for the Delphi team. Based on how warm-up went, Chris (Finch, race engineer) and the engineers made a lot of changes going into the race. Obviously, we were not right where we wanted to be and, at that point, you just have to hold on and not take many chances and try to get as many points as you can. The fact that we finished in the top 10 is a real positive. We have to go away and think what we would do differently to come back here. We had a really strong short oval program all year so I really came to Milwaukee with great expectations, but we just seemed to chase the car all weekend. You'll have weekends like that, and you have to go for the points and move on."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "What can I say? I just hope Sam (Hornish Jr.) gives me half the prize money. It's a shame that he and I got together, but sometimes these things just happen. The good news is that Sam was able to win the race. Marlboro Team Penske did a great job all weekend and it's too bad we weren't there at the end going for the win. My crew did a great job getting me back out there, and I'm happy that we were able to finish the race on the track and not in the pits. Hopefully, today's result won't affect our chances in the points championship. We had everything in our hands today and it's unfortunate that things ended up the way they did. Now we just have to turn the page and move on to Michigan."
The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Firestone Indy 400 on July 31 at Michigan International Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). ESPN2's telecast of the Milwaukee 100 is scheduled for 3 p.m. (EDT) on July 28.The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Courier-Journal 100 on Aug. 13 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 18.