Franchitti Conquers Mile At Pikes Peak Honda Indy 225 FOUNTAIN, Colo. (Aug. 22, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti might become known as 'The Mile Meister' after he claimed victory Sunday afternoon at the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCarÂ®...
Franchitti Conquers Mile At Pikes Peak Honda Indy 225
FOUNTAIN, Colo. (Aug. 22, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti might become known as 'The Mile Meister' after he claimed victory Sunday afternoon at the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway, earning his second IndyCar Series victory of the season and his second win on a one-mile oval. Earlier this season, he took victory at The Milwaukee Mile
Franchitti started the event from fourth place, having earned the position based on practice speeds as Saturday's qualifying session was rained out. A yellow caution period occurred on the first lap of the event as Buddy Rice made contact with the inside wall in Turn 2, by which time Franchitti had already moved the #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone into third place behind pole-sitter and Team -Eleven driver Tony Kanaan.
The race again went green on lap eight, with Franchitti drafting closely behind his teammate for the next 22 laps. The Scotsman took his first lead of the day on lap 30. As the duo approached slower traffic, Franchitti dove underneath Kanaan heading into Turn 3. He then proceeded to lead the next 29 laps.
He lost the lead to Sam Hornish Jr. on lap 60 as his car's balance went away, falling back to fourth place. A green-flag pit sequence on lap 81 saw Franchitti remain in the top-10 as he worked to regain the balance of his race car.
A caution period on lap 121 allowed the ArcaEx crew to again make minor adjustments to Franchitti's machine and he emerged from the pit box in fifth place.
The field went green on lap 130, and Franchitti began his assault. Fifth on lap 131, he passed four cars on lap 132 to take the lead, one he wouldn't relinquish as he went on to pace the final 63 laps. For the race, Franchitti lead 128 of 225 laps and, more importantly, moved into fifth place in the IndyCar Series point standings, just seven points shy of fourth place Helio Castroneves.
Following Franchitti across the finish line was Adrian Fernandez, while Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon finished third, Castroneves was fourth and Kanaan finished fifth.
Franchitti's ArcaEx team overcame one setback when vent man Mike Miller was injured during the team's first pit stop. The ArcaEx car moved forward, slightly with the vent hose still in place and knocked Miller to the ground. He suffered torn ligaments to his knee and was transported to an area hospital for further evaluation. Scott Bradford, crewmember for the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam car filled in for Miller the remainder of the day.
Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams return to action August 29 at Nazareth Speedway for the Firestone Indy 225. The event, which will represent the 100th IRL IndyCar Series race, will be televised live by ABC Sports, beginning at 2 EDT.
Dario Franchitti, #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"We were strong here last year and we were very strong on the mile at Milwaukee, so I hoped we could have another good run at Pikes Peak. The engineers at Andretti Green Racing have worked very hard to give us a good one-mile car and obviously we have an advantage with the Honda engine. I had a good rhythm out there and these low-grip situations definitely suit my driving style. The ArcaEx guys were lightning in the pits today and that's exactly what we needed."
Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:
"It's pretty cool to think that this team (AGR) has gone five-for-five on the short ovals this year. This was a hell of a team effort, but we really had to work for this one a bit harder. The ArcaEx car wasn't that great at the start, but then at the end the car came right to us. Dario has kind of turned into the 'short oval- meister' for some reason. I don't know where it came from, but it sure is nice to see."