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IndyCar Series: The Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  The Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance

IndyCar Series: The Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance

Dario Franchitti
July 22, 2007


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our race runner-up, Dario Franchitti. Second straight week that Dario is runner-up to Scott Dixon. With five races remaining in the season, he's got a 24-point lead on Scott Dixon.
Dario, talk about your day out there.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, the start wasn't one of the best things I've ever seen. A ridiculous situation of the pace car blocking the outside lane as Helio started to accelerate. You know, JR didn't do anything wrong. Just had to get off. You know, so Helio got the jump and went ridiculously early. You know, we saw what happened down in turn one.
From that point it was tough. I saw all my teammates starting to spin. I braked very hard to avoid Tony. Dixon, a little bit further behind, was able to make a better move. Him and Manning got past. I stuck behind those guys the first stint. I guess everybody was kind of stuck behind Helio.
It was impossible to pass today, which was very frustrating. We were just trying to make things happen, trying to save some fuel. We tried at the end not to take tires.
I don't know, we were losing -- I don't think we we're ultimately quick enough, but we were losing it seemed to be a little bit of speed - well, a little bit of time somewhere in the pits. I don't know what we're doing wrong, but we've got to fix that.
THE MODERATOR: This is Dario's 11th straight race finishing fifth or better.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: The problem we've got right now is we're looking for perfection. The guys in the 9 car, with Dixon's car, Scott himself, are doing a hell of a job. We need perfection. I'm being critical of myself and my guys, but we need that perfection in order to win the championship.
They did their best today. I pushed as hard as I possibly could. We did suffer from a little bit too much understeer as the race went on. We couldn't add the front wing because we were trying to make up places in the pits. We were really caught between a rock and a hard place.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dario.

Q. How tough was it to watch your three teammates struggle?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We talked about the start. It was tough to see that happen to them. I was also upset to lose places with the whole thing. As a team, it wasn't our best moment, put it that way.

Q. The last pit stop you didn't take tires. Were the tires holding up pretty well?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, the tires kind of lost a little bit of performance after 10 laps, then they were pretty consistent after that. We really thought we might gain some advantage by doing that. It didn't work out. I guess Scott had the same idea.

Q. You had a lead going into the pits at the end. Did you feel confident?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It takes so long to get down pit lane, 14, 15 seconds. As I say, I thought the fact we did three laps I think longer than Scott, each lap was a 68.0, which is as quick as we've gone all race, when he was getting back up to speed, we come out, we're still two or three seconds behind him. I'd love to know how that happened. I'll have to have a look.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I knew Scott -- I saw him pit right in front of me. I think Helio pitted first, then Scott. We did those three laps. They said, Okay, you're going to have to push like hell here. That's what I did. I had clean air. I turned my fastest laps of the race.
As I say, we got a good stop. I think it was a good stop. Got on the marks pretty damn quickly, got in pit lane, got out of pit lane, Scott was three seconds up the road. Again, I'd love to analyze it and find out where the time was lost.

Q. How does this play out for you for the rest of the season?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think at this point when you look at the guys fighting it out up front week in, week out, there's no weak spots for anybody. We've just got to get on with it and do the job.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, thank you.

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