IRL: Phoenix: Dario Franchitti Friday report

AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 19, 2004) - Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) driver Dario Franchitti opened his bid for a successful race weekend Friday at Phoenix International Raceway with a pair of practice sessions in preparation for Sunday's...

AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 19, 2004) - Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) driver Dario Franchitti opened his bid for a successful race weekend Friday at Phoenix International Raceway with a pair of practice sessions in preparation for Sunday's Indy Racing® League IndyCar® Series event.

Franchitti, who wheels the #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone, pounded out 65 miles of practice Friday around the one-mile Phoenix oval and turned in the sixth quickest speed of the day at 171.322 miles per hour. Franchitti is one of 20 drivers expected to line up for Sunday's 200-mile race, which is the second of 16 on the 2004 IndyCar Series schedule.

The 30-year old Scot is hoping to improve on the fourth-place qualifying run he put together in the season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but more importantly, is hoping to rebound from the 17th place finish he posted after contact with another car sent him spinning into the outside retaining wall and ended his day prematurely.

Defending IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon recorded the fastest speed Friday at 175.432 miles per hour and was followed by Helio Castroneves, who clocked in at 175.136. Franchitti's teammate Tony Kanaan, who is the defending winner of the Phoenix event, was third with a best speed of 174.353.

Franchitti and his Andretti Green Racing teammates will work through one more practice session Saturday morning before qualifying at 2 p.m. (EST). Sunday's 200-lap race is set to go green just after 4 p.m. (EST).

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

"It was a productive day for the ArcaEx team. We had a gearbox problem that cut our first session short, but we still made a lot of progress. The track is pretty slippery I would say and the trick is trying to get the car to work on this surface. With it being so hot it has really taken away some grip. We are encouraged. We've done a couple of long runs and I think we're getting a handle on it."

Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:

"All we worried about all day today was our race car because that is all that matters at this place. We had an OK race car during the test, but came back today with a few improvements that the guys had come up with and they seem to be working pretty well right now. We're probably about 90 percent where we want to be, so now it's just a matter of going out and getting that last 10 percent."

-agr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan