Home » INDYCAR

Power and Franchitti Split The Take In Fort Worth

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 12 2011

Dario Franchitti and Will Power celebrate their victories in Saturday night's Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photos courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Fort Worth, Texas – An animated Will Power leaped out of his car in Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night, putting a proper exclamation point on the IZOD IndyCar Series’ inaugural Firestone Twin 275s.

The series points-leader as the night began, Power scored his third victory this season and 11th overall after starting Race 2 from the third position. The 30-car grid for the second 114-lapper was determined by a blind draw conducted during a one-hour intermission between the events. The usually reserved Power, of Team Penske, was ecstatic after choosing the No. 3 position on a stage set up in front of the grandstands.

“Yep, that was great. That was lucky,” said Power, who despite his first oval-track win admitted the blind draw system that helped set it up is flawed.

“I think it definitely was unfair for Dario (Franchitti) and Scott (Dixon) – for anybody that was a championship contender,” said Power, who finished 0.9466-seconds ahead of Dixon. “It’s just not fair, as simple as that. The draw thing was definitely fun for the crowd, but not if you got a bad draw. In a tightly fought championship, you can’t have that. If it comes down to five points at the end of the year, Dario can point to this.”

Race 1 winner Franchitti and runner-up Dixon were served leftovers during intermission. A stone-faced Franchitti drew the No. 28 starting spot after dominating Race 1; No. 28 was the only grid position remaining after Dixon spun a Firestone Firehawk tire with the No. 18 on it.

As Franchitti feared, the blind draw had immediate championship implications. Franchitti – the

Will Power takes a leap after winning the second of the two IndyCar races at Texas.

three-time and reigning series champion – trailed Power by 16 points as the night began. At the conclusion of  Race 1 – which paid half-points – Power’s lead was down to seven. But Power exited Texas with a 21-point lead following Franchitti’s seventh-place finish in Race 2.

Franchitti, who qualified second via traditional two-lap time trials Friday afternoon, again suggested that inverting the field after the first race would be a fairer format for all contenders.

“This race was a championship race. It’s a shame,” said Franchitti, driver of the No. 10 Huggies Dallara/Honda. “To win in Texas in front of a great crowd, I should be celebrating. But we had a massive handicap. I’m sitting OK on the first race but I’m pissed off by the hand we were dealt. If we had inverted that (lineup), I would have been back two spots (to 30th). But I’m OK with that because we’d all be in the same boat.

“Racing is about skills and tonight for the second race it was just a lottery. Worst-case scenario for us…we passed all those cars (21) but Will drove off by pulling that number and wins the race. We got hosed tonight, so I hope we don’t lose the championship because of this because I’ll be pissed-off.”

Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske finished third in the second race, followed by teammate Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, who drew the pole position for Race 2.

Incredibly, Race 2 ran without a yellow flag – the first caution-free IndyCar event since 2009 at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway. And Race 1 produced only one yellow, that by a pair of rookies.

Dixon finished second in both races, 0.9446-seconds behind Power in Race 2 and 0.0527-seconds in back of Franchitti in the first.

Franchitti was visibly upset after drawing the No. 28 spot before an estimated crowd of 73,000 on a sizzling, 98-degree night in Cowtown. “That (draw) might not be a bad thing. I might be behind all the crazy stuff,” Franchitti joked. “Whatever we draw is going to dictate a lot of stuff – setup, all kinds of things. There’s no doubt the car was good out front. But it was a handful in traffic, especially when lapped cars were blocking, doing all kinds of crazy stuff.”

Franchitti led a race-high 110 of 114 laps in Race 1 en route to a victory over Dixon by 0.0527-seconds

Dario Franchitti won the first of the Firestone Twin 275s.

– the fourth-closest finish in series history at TMS. Championship leader Power placed third, followed by pole-winner Alex Tagliani of Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Takuma Sato of KV Racing Technology – Lotus.

Biggest winner of the blind draw, conducted in a game show-type atmosphere, was series veteran Kanaan of KV Racing Technology – Lotus. The 2004 series champion drew the pole after finishing 11th in the first race. Wade Cunningham started second in Race 2 after crashing out of Race 1 in the same car Dan Wheldon drove to victory in the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

Power drew the No. 3 position for Race 2 and was joined in Row 2 by Graham Rahal of Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing.

Franchitti’s second win of the 2011 season was the 28th of his open-wheel career. It moved the two-time Indy 500 champion past three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford of Fort Worth into 10th on the all-time list.

“What can I say about that one?”  the Scotsman said. “From the first lap I was able to get in the lead and the biggest problem was fighting through traffic.”

Race 1 ran caution-free until Lap 94, when rookies Charlie Kimball and Cunningham brushed each other entering Turn 4. The running order at that point was Franchitti, Dixon and Power heading into the night’s first pit stops under caution. The leaders exited in the same order and neither Dixon nor Power could get past Franchitti with 10 laps to go.

“I saw Dixie…that’s a guy you don’t want to see, especially with a side-by-side restart,”  Franchitti said. “He’s pretty good at pretty much any track. I managed to get a good restart, was able to stay ahead of him and at the same time he was able to stay ahead of Will. That was a 1-2 for the team. Worked out pretty good.”

And then came the blind draw.

Resutls for first race of the Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway:

1.  (2) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

2.  (7) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

3.  (3) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

4.  (1) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

5.  (4) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

6.  (9) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

7.  (19) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

8.  (12) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

9.  (20) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

10.  (13) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

11.  (6) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

12.  (21) Paul Tracy, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

13.  (23) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

14.  (25) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

15.  (28) Jay Howard, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

16.  (10) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

17.  (27) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

18.  (5) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

19.  (16) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

20.  (15) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

21.  (14) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

22.  (24) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

23.  (11) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

24.  (22) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

25.  (30) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

26.  (29) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 111, Running

27.  (18) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 109, Running

28.  (26) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Honda, 97, Running

29.  (8) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Honda, 92, Contact

30.  (17) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 91, Contact

Race Statistics

Winners average speed:  181.649

Time of Race: 00:54:47.2787

Margin of victory: .0527 of a second

Cautions: 1 for 10 laps

Lead changes: 6 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Franchitti 1, Tagliani 2,, Franchitti 3-50, Dixon 51, Castroneves 52, Meira 53, Franchitti 54-114

Point Standings: Power 212, Franchitti 205, Servia 156, Dixon 149, Kanaan 145, Rahal 131, Briscoe 128, Tagliani 127, Hildebrand 119, Sato 109.

Results for the second race of the Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway:

1.  (3) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

2.  (18) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

3.  (12) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

4.  (6) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

5.  (1) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

6.  (27) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

7.  (28) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

8.  (20) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

9.  (5) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

10.  (29) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

11.  (7) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 114, Running

12.  (25) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

13.  (14) Paul Tracy, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

14.  (16) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

15.  (17) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

16.  (10) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

17.  (26) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

18.  (21) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

19.  (9) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

20.  (13) Jay Howard, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

21.  (30) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

22.  (15) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 113, Running

23.  (8) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

24.  (19) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

25.  (24) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

26.  (2) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Honda, 112, Running

27.  (22) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 111, Running

28.  (23) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 111, Running

29.  (11) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Honda, 111, Running

30.  (4) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 104, Running

Race Statistics

Winners average speed:  206.693

Time of Race: 00:48:08.9739

Margin of victory: .9466 of a second

Cautions: 0

Lead changes: 8 among six drivers

Lap Leaders: Kanaan 1-38, Power 39-50, Kanaan 51, Castroneves 52, Viso 53-54, Power 55-104, Dixon 105, Briscoe 106-108, Power 109-114.

Point Standings: Power 239, Franchitti 218, Dixon 169, Servia 163, Kanaan 159, Briscoe 146, Rahal 136, Tagliani 135, Hildebrand 125, Sato 118.

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 12 2011
No Comment

Comments are closed.