Atlanta: Dario Franchitti race report

HAMPTON, Ga. (March 9, 2008)-Continuing his stock car development process, Dario Franchitti raced the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge not once but twice this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring a 28th-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series...

HAMPTON, Ga. (March 9, 2008)-Continuing his stock car development process, Dario Franchitti raced the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge not once but twice this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring a 28th-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race Saturday and then a 33rd-place finish in the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race.

Weather once again played a role in NASCAR's competition plans. In fact, snow visited the Hampton, Ga., area Saturday morning and forced NASCAR to cancel the NNS qualifying session for the second time this season. Therefore, the NNS teams lined up according to the 2007 owner points standings, which landed Franchitti and team in 24th place on Saturday's starting grid. The weather did clear just on time for the teams to get on track and race the 198-lap competition that concluded with Franchitti and team crossing the finish line in 28th place.

The No. 40 Fastenal NNS team now stands 20th place in the overall 2008 owner points. The team is 56 points out of 10th and 182 away from the top spot.

On Sunday, although he was bit by the flu bug, Franchitti climbed behind the wheel of the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge again to work his way through a very long race that only saw eight yellow flags during the 325-lap competition. Franchitti and team battled a loose-handling race car that never seemed to be able to find the right balance to call it a day in 33rd place.

Franchitti is still leading the rookie class in both the NNS and NSCS. He has a 13-point lead over fellow teammate Bryan Clauson in the Nationwide Series and a two-point lead over Sam Hornish Jr. in the Sprint Cup Series. Franchitti is 38th in the overall NSCS driver ranks. He is 34 points outside the top 35.

Dario Franchitti: "It was important to finish. It's like every week for us, a big learning experience. I can not believe how loose the cars were all day. I think everybody was in the same boat. We were just hanging on. We hit the wall a couple of times just on exit with the thing being so loose and the rear being toed-out, stuck out so much, but we finished. We kind of got hurt there. We were on the same lap as a bunch of the guys ahead of us and Edwards just lapped us and then blew up. That got us a lap further down which we didn't need. I drove as hard as I could all day. My guys did a great job with the pit stops. We just couldn't get the adjustments in the car to handle the way we needed ... It's important to get experience. It'd be nice to have some better results to show for it. As I say, we're all doing our best."

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Bryan Clauson , Sam Hornish Jr.