IRL: Pikes Peak: Race report, quotes

Franchitti Claims Second Win at Pikes Peak; FOUNTAIN, Colo., Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004 -- Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti held off Adrian Fernandez to win the Honda Indy 225 Aug. 22 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. It was the ...

Franchitti Claims Second Win at Pikes Peak;

FOUNTAIN, Colo., Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004 -- Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti held off Adrian Fernandez to win the Honda Indy 225 Aug. 22 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

It was the second victory of the season for Franchitti and the seventh win in 12 races for Andretti Green Racing. The team placed all four of its drivers in the top 10, with Dan Wheldon third, Tony Kanaan fifth and Bryan Herta ninth.

Kanaan, the IRL IndyCar® Series points leader, led 30 laps for a total of 813 laps led this season, a new league record for laps led in a single season. Kanaan also extended his lead in the points standings to 68 over Rahal Letterman Racing driver Buddy Rice. Rice spun on the backstretch on lap 1 of the 225-lap event and made contact with the inside wall. He was uninjured in the accident.

Sam Hornish Jr. led 67 laps to bring his career total to an IRL record 2,050 laps led. Hornish was in third place when he spun and made contact with the Turn 4 wall on lap 157. He also was uninjured.

HONDA INDY 225 POST-RACE NOTES:

* This is Dario Franchitti's second win of the season and the second victory of his IRL IndyCar Series career. He also won at Milwaukee earlier this season.

* This is Andretti Green Racing's seventh win of the season. In addition to Franchitti's two wins, Tony Kanaan has three wins and Dan Wheldon has two wins.

* A Honda-powered car won for the 11th consecutive time this season.

* Tony Kanaan led 30 laps to give him 813 laps led this season. Kanaan broke Tony Stewart's record (812) for most laps led in a season, which he set in 1996-1997 season.

* Kanaan finished in the top five for the 12th consecutive race to extend his IndyCar Series record for consecutive top-five finishes.

* Sam Hornish Jr. led 67 laps for a record total 2,050 laps led in his IndyCar Series career.

* Jaques Lazier finished eighth, his best finish this season and the best finish for Patrick Racing in the IndyCar Series.

HONDA INDY 225 POST-RACE QUOTES

SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/ Honda/Firestone): "The car was just really loose. We made a lot of changes throughout the weekend and kept trying different things, but we just never seemed to make any gains at all. Just before the start of the race, we took a chance and tried to go in another direction, but that didn't end up working in our favor, unfortunately. Once we fell back a lap, the Target team had me come in for an early stop to take some front wing out, but that didn't help at all. This is really disappointing for the whole team. It's been a difficult year for this Target team, but we keep plugging away and giving it our best. We just can't seem to catch a break. We'll regroup this week, and I guess the key will be to get back to basics for Nazareth."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "I don't know. Probably more than anything, it was just everyone going for it, and the way the air was and stuff. I just lost it going coming out of (Turn) 2. I don't know. That's just the way it goes."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We were strong here last year, but a lot of things have happened since last year. We were strong at Milwaukee, and my engineers at did a great job to give me a good car here. I got into a good rhythm there, and these low-grip situations suit my driving style. My guys on the ArcaEx crew were lightning fast today in the pits. That was exactly what we needed."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "It was a fantastic day, especially following last week's result. It was one of the most challenging races of the year, at least for me. The track was changing constantly through the whole race. You needed to adjust to those things and be patient and just take care of your tires. A few times, I was very aggressive on passing people on the outside on the restarts, and one time, one of the restarts, I think I was third, I was trying to get on the outside, and I went into the marbles and had to get out of the power. I had to work my way to the front. My car was good. My car was responding, and I was getting one guy at a time. Eventually, we just couldn't get Dario (Franchitti). Dario was very strong. I think if we could've gotten in front of him, we could've won the race, but that was the trick. My guys did a fantastic job in the pits, but still not enough to get Dario. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic result for us, and we carry some good momentum."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was good fun. It was a good result. Any time you finish on the podium, it's good. I finished in front of the two people I needed to finish in front of. Obviously, not far enough in front of one of them, but we just do the best job we can week in and week out and see where that leaves us at the end."

ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We had good pit stops all day, which helped us along. We had a little bit of understeer throughout the whole race, but it got better as the race went on. Overall, we ran solid the whole time and just kept digging along and trying to keep from falling back. We're still just searching for more speed."

ED CARPENTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Our car was the best it's been all weekend. As the track got rubbered in, our car got a lot better. We made some mistakes in the pits that cost us some time. On one of the stops, I couldn't understand my engineer calling me in on the radio, so I took an extra lap and came into the pits on fumes, so my engine died. Then, on another stop, the wheel gun broke, and we had to come in a second time to change the fourth wheel. But we had a good strategy for the race, stuck with it and turned in a good finish."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "The car was handling real good, and we were trying to work our way through traffic. We had a good car. It restarted well, and everything was going well. I was trying to get back up on some guys, and the car just got away from me. I wasn't pushing it that hard. I don't know. It was a weird deal."

JAQUES LAZIER (No. 20 Patrick Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Eighth for this team is like a win. We're just going to keep building on this momentum. We're getting stronger and stronger, and we're starting to unify as a team. We've got the chassis where it's really working well, and we're able to utilize the Chevy power."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Centrix Panoz G Force/ Honda/Firestone): "Boy, my problem was in traffic. The Centrix car was just too loose in traffic. Every time I would make a run on another car, the rear end would break loose. When I was by myself, the car was good. I think everyone had some type of situation with a loose condition. If you were in a pack, the air would affect the car. The guy with the least loose car was the best. That was Dario (Franchitti) today. I'm sure that is what happened to (teammate) Buddy (Rice), too. When you are in the middle of the pack, you have so much air coming around you that you can barely hang on to the steering wheel. If a car cuts down in front of you, the car really moves. It has a lot to do with the high altitude. You don't have as much downforce on the car at 6,000 feet, and with the air from the other cars, the car is a handful. But I'm glad we were able to get seventh for Centrix, our primary sponsor. I wanted to do better today since Centrix is based in Colorado."

DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "I've very pleased with this fourth-place finish because we worked so very hard to get it. We lost a lap because of a refueling problem on our first stop, so we took a gamble on fuel strategy, and it paid off for us. We got a yellow just at the right time, and by getting our lap back, I was able to ride the momentum right to the end. It was a nice battle on that last restart. This Target team just never gave up, and that is just so important. They gave me a good car, and I was able to adjust it throughout the stint. That was really important, as my Toyota/(Panoz) G Force stayed strong for the whole run and not just on fresh tires."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We just had an awesome car and to have it end like that is like falling off a cliff. The Pennzoil Panther gang gave me a great car, and we had great pit stops all day. I could run high or low and Chevy gave us a great engine. Talk about a great heartbreak. We were cooking all day. To have it end like it did was a huge disappointment for all of us, but we'll learn from it and come back stronger at Nazareth."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "That was a long day, a very long day, but I got an eighth-place finish out of it, and I'm not sure the XM Satellite Radio car was that good. Plus, (teammates) Dario (Franchitti) won and Tony (Kanaan) had a good day in the points, so overall, I think we've got to be pretty happy. I'm just glad to get this one over with and get on to Nazareth. We need to win one in Michael's (Andretti) backyard."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I drove a conservative race. We chased the Team 7-Eleven car all day. We made the car better, and then we made the car worse. Towards the end, I had a pretty good battle with my teammates. If we were to finish fifth every race, I think we could win the championship. We just need to capitalize on all our opportunities and stay focused."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I was happy with how the Marlboro Team Penske car handled today. The team gave me great pit stops, and we were running up front for most of the race. Unfortunately, on the last restart, I got caught behind a backmarker and dropped from third to seventh. We were able to make up a place in the final laps and finish the race sixth. It's disappointing because I thought we had a top-three car, but it's still a respectable finish."

The next IndyCar Series event is the Firestone Indy 225 at 2 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 29 at Nazareth Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series event is the Chicagoland 100 at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 16

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jaques Lazier  , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing