IRL: Nazareth: AGR, Franchitti race report

NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 29, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti held off a hard-charging Buddy Rice over the final 25 laps to earn a third-place finish, which, combined with Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon's victory and a second-place...

NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 29, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti held off a hard-charging Buddy Rice over the final 25 laps to earn a third-place finish, which, combined with Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon's victory and a second-place finish by Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, gave Andretti Green Racing a top-three sweep Sunday afternoon at the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway.

Franchitti started the event from fourth place and kept the #27 ArcaEx Honda-powered Dallara in the top 10 throughout the day while continually working to find the perfect balance for the ArcaEx machine. During each of his three pit stops, the ArcaEx crew provided quick service while also trimming the race car to improve its handling characteristics.

On his final pit stop, which took place with approximately 70 laps remaining, the ArcaEx crew returned Franchitti to the race in third place, trailing only his teammates, Wheldon and Kanaan. From that point, the Scotsman held off Rice to the checkered flag.

With Wheldon earning his third victory of the season, followed by Kanaan and Franchitti, Andretti Green Racing posted their first top-three sweep since joining the IndyCar Series in 2003, as well as recording their eighth victory in 13 races this season. Rice came home fourth, followed by Helio Castroneves in fifth place.

Franchitti's third-place finish, his fifth top-five finish of the year, also moved him to within five points of fourth-place Helio Castroneves (359-354). Andretti Green has won every race on tracks shorter than 1.5 miles this season. Nazareth also marked the second-consecutive AGR victory, with Franchitti having won last week at Kentucky.

Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams return to action September 12 at Chicagoland Speedway for the Delphi Indy 300. The event will be televised live by ABC Sports, beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

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

"This was a typical Nazareth race; it was exciting at points and frustrating at other points. I didn't have a good balance in the ArcaEx car and kind of struggled a bit, but we improved with each pit stop and the car got progressively better. Traffic played a big part; I went from fifth to seventh back to fourth all in one lap. We got the ArcaEx car good for the end because Buddy (Rice) was trying hard to pass me and I was trying hard to stay in front of him. A '1-2-3' for Andretti Green is pretty special. We just need Bryan (Herta) up there with us. He's a massive part of this team and if it weren't for a couple incidents in traffic, he would have been up there with us."

Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:

"It was a good day for the ArcaEx team and a great day for Andretti Green Racing. Anytime you can have a '1-2-3' finish is fabulous. We had to find the balance in the car for Dario, but he progressively got quicker as the race went on."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jim Beam