Franchitti Finishes 13th in First New Hampshire NASCAR Effort
LOUDON, N.H. (June 28, 2008) – The No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Team came close to a top-10 finish this past Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), but settled for a top 15 instead after its car never did seem to take to the 1.058-mile oval.
Dario Franchitti lined up 10th for the start of the 200-lap NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event Saturday afternoon and then proceeded to maintain a top-15 run throughout the afternoon effort. Franchitti radioed his team early on to report his No.40 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) Dodge was too tight so the team pitted on lap 49 for four tires, fuel and minor air pressure adjustments to loosen up the Fastenal car.
Franchitti proceeded to maintain a top-15 run from there, until a two-tire, fuel stop on lap 102 shot the team up to second place. Unfortunately, Franchitti had his hands full with an extremely loose race car after that, but still managed to successfully hold a top-10 stance for almost 30 laps.
The team’s day took a turn on them when a scheduled two-tire stop on lap 129 didn’t play out as planned. Crew chief Brad Parrott called for right-side tires, fuel and track bar adjustments to try to tighten up the No. 40 Dodge, but the jack was dropped before the track bar adjustment was completed and thus forced Franchitti to return to pit road to have the track bar wrench removed from the car. The mishap relegated the team from a 10th-place running position to 18th. In typical fashion, the Fastenal driver and crew didn’t give up and rebounded from the incident in the remaining 60-plus laps to finish 13th.
The CGRFS NNS crew held onto its 17th spot in the NNS owner ranks. With a current tally of 1,988, the Fastenal team is 60 points outside of 15th and 190 out of 10th. Franchitti also took Raybestos® Rookie of the Race honors for the seventh time this 2008 NNS Season. He is second in the NNS rookie standings, seven points behind his Fastenal Teammate and NNS rookie class leader Bryan Clauson (118-111).
NASCAR heads back to Daytona International Speedway this week. The NNS teams are schedule to run the Winn-Dixie 250 on Friday, July 4. The 100-lap event is scheduled to go green at 8 p.m. ET with live coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
CGRFS Quote Board:
DARIO FRANCHITTI: “We had a top-10 car, but had an unfortunate mistake on pit road that really cost us some valuable track position. It’s a real shame because the guys on the Fastenal Team always put me in good cars every time we race together. So, that’s really disappointing to throw away a potential top-10 day. We fought back, though. The car was unbelievably loose [smiles]. On the long run, the car was pretty good, a little tight in the center but again track position was just so important. We came out ok, but should’ve finished a lot better than this.”