Franchitti Grabs Career-First NASCAR Pole and Top Five
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 9, 2008) – Dario Franchitti put the No.40 Fastenal Dodge on the pole at Watkins Glen International for the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race on Saturday en route to his first career top-five NASCAR finish. Franchitti was also the top finishing Raybestos® Rookie in the 82-lap race.
Franchitti led the field to the green flag and held onto the lead through the first 11 laps when the caution flag waved. Several teams elected to pit before the caution, so after the Fastenal Team finished service on the No.40 Dodge on lap 13, Franchitti was eighth for the restart on lap 15.
He proceeded to work his way back up to fourth on lap 25 and was sitting third when the second yellow was displayed at lap 40. The first two cars elected to pit while Franchitti remained on the track and inherited the lead again. Crew Chief Brad Parrott knew the team was not within its fuel window yet and didn’t want to take the chance of running out of fuel.
Parrott then called Franchitti down pit road on lap 48 for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the caution flag waved on lap 49 for debris. When racing resumed on lap 53 the No.40 Dodge was sitting 17th. As teams continued to pit and Franchitti maneuvered his way through traffic, he was back in the top 10 on lap 56. With less than 10 laps to go, Franchitti was seventh but two of the leading cars ran out of fuel in the closing laps and Franchitti drove the Fastenal Dodge across the finish line in fifth.
The No.40 CGRFS NNS team is currently 20th in the NNS owner standings going into the 25th race of the 2008 season this weekend at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The NNS teams will race this Saturday, August 16, at MIS, taking the green at 3:30 pm ET. The 125-lap race will broadcast live on ESPN2 starting at 3 p.m. ET.