IRL: Nashville: AGR, Herta race report

LEBANON, Tenn. (July 17, 2004) - XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta came into Saturday night's running of the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway with plenty of optimism after netting the third starting position in yesterday's ...

LEBANON, Tenn. (July 17, 2004) - XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta came into Saturday night's running of the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway with plenty of optimism after netting the third starting position in yesterday's qualifying session. But, his night ended in disappointment when a crash put him out of the race on lap 161 and left him with an 18th place finish.

Herta, who came into the race with three top-five finishes in the past four events, started the race from the inside of the second row and went to work on sorting out the balance of the #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

He ran among the top 10 throughout the first half of the 200-lap race, but then encountered his first problem of the night when he lost fifth gear just past the halfway mark of the event. Herta soldiered on in and around the top 10 for the next 50 laps as he looked for a way to gain positions around the 1.33-mile concrete oval. But, as cars battled for position and ultimately slowed just in front of him in the narrow racing groove, Herta was forced to brake, which moved the XM car out of the racing line. The end result was hard contact with the Turn 2 wall and an 18th place finish.

Herta's disappointment at Nashville dropped him from fifth to eighth in the Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series standings after eight of 16 events. His teammate, Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, won the event by outrunning Team Penske teammates Sam Hornish and Helio Castroneves, who finished second and third, respectively.

The IndyCar Series now moves to The Milwaukee Mile for Round 9 of the 2004 schedule. The Milwaukee race is set for next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern) and airs live on ABC.

Bryan Herta, #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"Two guys went side by side in the pack up ahead of me. Everybody checked up and slowed down. I came up on them and, when everybody slowed down, I lost the front of the XM car. Once I got into the marbles, it just slid right up into the wall."

Martin Pare, Race Engineer, #7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"It was just a disappointing night for the XM Satellite Radio team, for sure. Once the field got rolling, there just wasn't much passing going on, so it was all about track position. And, midway through the race we lost our main running gear, so Bryan was actually doing quite a good job just to keep up with main group in front of him. All in all, we're just very disappointed."

-agr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske