IRL: Phoenix: AGR - Franchitti race report

Franchitti finishes 16th after mechanical problem. AVONDALE, Arizona (March 23, 2003) -- Dario Franchitti ran into some bad luck today at Phoenix International Raceway when a mechanical problem forced him to retire early from thePurex/Dial ...

Franchitti finishes 16th after mechanical problem.

AVONDALE, Arizona (March 23, 2003) -- Dario Franchitti ran into some bad luck today at Phoenix International Raceway when a mechanical problem forced him to retire early from thePurex/Dial Indy200. Franchitti finished in 16th position. The #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone was running in the top-ten when Franchitti experienced the mechanical problem on lap 164.

Starting from the inside of the fifth row, the 29-year-old Scotsman steadily moved through the field with the help of his Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola pit crew. The team performed three flawless pit stops moving Franchitti to as high as fourth in the running order. Franchitti lost some positions on the fifth restart after trying to pass Helio Castroneves on the outside, causing him to drop back to ninth. He was working his way back through the field before the mechanical problem cut his day short.

Franchitti's technical partner Tony Kanaan claimed his first IRL IndyCar Series victory beating Castroneves and Felipe Giaffone to the checkered flag. Michael Andretti, Franchitti's team owner technical partner, finished 13th after an incident in Turn 1 with Gil de Ferran. Tony Kanaan leads the IRL standings with 84 points, Castroneves is second with 75 points and Scott Dixon is third with 60 points. Michael Andretti is 10th in points with 45 and Franchitti is 11th with 40 points.

The IRL IndyCar Series season moves to Twin Ring Motegi for Round 3 of the 2003 championship on Sunday April 13th for Round 2 of the 2003 championship.

Dario Franchitti , Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola:

"First of all I'm really happy for Tony but obviously I'm disappointed we had a mechanical failure. I really felt we had a chance to be at the front at the finish. It was an eventful race, on the fifth restart I was going around Helio (Castroneves) and I got a bit wide in Turn 3. Because of that some other guys got down inside of me going into Turn 1 and I lost like four or five positions in the blink of an eye. All day my Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola crew was making it happen on pit lane, they made up positions on every pit stop. If they can keep that up I know we can make things happen. It's a shame, I think if we hadn't have had the mechanical failure we would have been in the top-three."

Kyle Moyer , Team Manager, Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola

"This was a building race for our team. Our guys were working well together today and that is where we need to be. We were able to overcome each challenge we faced today until we had the mechanical problem. The crew had to make up some positions in the pits today and they were able to do that. It is just a shame we weren't able to finish the race. We are in a good place right now as a team and hopefully we can get a much better result in Japan."

-AGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan