Lady Luck Spoils Strong Run For Franchitti at Richmond RICHMOND, Virginia (June 26, 2004) -Â ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti found himself the victim of bad fortune Saturday night as contact with a lapped car dampened an otherwise ...
Lady Luck Spoils Strong Run For Franchitti at Richmond
RICHMOND, Virginia (June 26, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti found himself the victim of bad fortune Saturday night as contact with a lapped car dampened an otherwise stellar performance and left him with a 12th place finish at the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.
Franchitti started the event from 12th position and battled a slight imbalance with the #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone until making his first stop on lap 70. Stopping under yellow flag conditions, the ArcaEx team made the necessary adjustments to give Franchitti a fast racing machine.
Another caution period on lap 109 saw Franchitti vault to the head of the field as ArcaEx team strategist Kyle Moyer elected to have Franchitti remain on the race track while the leaders pitted. Having inherited the lead, the Scotsman showed his talents around the short, three quarter-mile raceway. Franchitti maintained his lead while also disposing of lapped traffic as the laps ticked away.
On lap 187, Franchitti received a break that may well have landed him in victory lane. Having undertaken a long series of green flag laps and needing to pit for fuel and tires, the caution flag was once again displayed. Rejoining the field in fifth place and having taken on fresh tires and fuel, Franchitti held his ground while trying to pick his way up the leader board.
But, fortune turned to misery on lap 223 when, lying in fifth place and looking to pass Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, the ArcaEx car encountered contact with a lapped car. Franchitti managed to keep the car off the wall, but the ensuing spin resulted in a stalled engine. By the time the IRL safety crew towed Franchitti in an effort to restart the machine, he had fallen three laps off the pace.
Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams return to action next week at Kansas Speedway for the Argent Mortgage - Kansas Indy 300 on July 4.
Dario Franchitti, #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"During the first stint of the race, I was still learning how to drive this race track. On our first stop, we got the balance I was looking for in the ArcaEx car, then we did a strategy move which got us up to the front. From that point, the car was really, really good -- good enough to run away from the pack. Then, the yellow came out just when we needed one and I was thinking 'this is looking good.' I had a great last pit stop by my guys, which got me out of there in good shape. I was running behind Buddy (Rice) and was looking to make a move on him at some point. I followed him and Mark Taylor through Turn 1, then Taylor came down on me and that was the end of the night. I've done well on some of the short tracks I've driven, but this is a really short track. I've raced at Nazareth, Milwaukee, Pikes Peak, but never had the greatest of results. We just need a bit of luck and we'll be good."
Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:
"Dario ran up front and led a lot of laps. This was his first time here (at Richmond) and the car was there until we got bumped back by a lapped car. But things like that happen. All in all, it was a pretty good day. The big thing is we improved on the ArcaEx car throughout the race. We didn't qualify too well as a team, but I thought we raced pretty well as a team. Dan's winning was just icing on the cake and Tony maintained his lead in the points with a strong fifth."