Franchitti Rallies for Runner-up Finish in Arcaex Car at Texas FT. WORTH, Texas (June 12, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti started from the top spot Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway and came...
Franchitti Rallies for Runner-up Finish in Arcaex Car at Texas
FT. WORTH, Texas (June 12, 2004) - ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti started from the top spot Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway and came within an eyelash of winding up there after dodging a bullet that nearly cost him a chance to be there at the finish.
Franchitti, who won his first career Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series pole Thursday night, looked strong from the outset as he led 28 of the first 33 laps before dropping in behind teammate Tony Kanaan. The driver of the #27 ArcaEx Honda-powered Dallara then settled in comfortably among the race's top-five and prepped for a shot at his first career IndyCar Series win. Franchitti's plan unfolded without a hitch until the lap 150 mark arrived with a "near-miss" that came close to spoiling his first-ever race under the lights.
While battling for position on the back straightaway on the 1.5-mile oval, Franchitti banged wheels with another car that drifted into his line on the entry of Turn 3. Although it surprisingly sustained no damage, Franchitti's ArcaEx machine lost momentum and enough spots to drop him back to the 10th position.
Unfazed, Franchitti scratched and clawed back to seventh with 30 laps to go and then capitalized on another skirmish among the leaders to move to third with 20 circuits remaining. After a final pit stop for fuel only on lap 181, Franchitti restarted fifth. But aided by a gutsy move on the lap 186 restart, he charged to the second position within two laps. From there, Franchitti dogged his teammate Tony Kanaan for the final 12 laps before finishing a mere quarter-second back for his best- ever IndyCar Series result.
Saturday's runner-up finish paid immediate dividends for Franchitti in the series standings as he jumped from 14th to a tie for ninth with 108 points. Kanaan is the new series leader after posting his second win this year.
Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams return to action in two weeks at Richmond International Raceway for the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 26.
Dario Franchitti, #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"This is fantastic. It is a really great job by Andretti Green. The only problem we had tonight was blowing up the gearbox trying to do a burnout (after the race). I couldn't get alongside Tony (Kanaan), so I tucked in behind him so we could pull away. The ArcaEx crew did an outstanding job in the pits and it was a great effort. We've been quick all year and we just haven't been getting the results. I think we gave Michael a heart attack going three-wide on that last restart."
Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:
"We ran up front most of the day in the ArcaEx car, but we also got pushed back some. You know you've accomplished something finishing 'one-two' with Tony Kanaan. I can't be more proud of Dario driving back up to get up front and getting the great finish."