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Franchitti finishes 17th on ARCA debut

Dario Franchitti had a respectable run on his stock car debut to finish 17th in the ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday.

The Scot had qualified sixth for the race but his team was faced with an oil contamination problem following qualifying. They had to change parts on both his car and that of teammate and polesitter Bryan Clauson, breaking the impound rules and being sent to the back of the grid as a result.

From there, Franchitti was able to make his way up in the draft to break into the top ten at some point, but dropping back again later. He was on the move in the last few laps but couldn't catch up with the leading line of cars to finish the race in a higher position.

Despite that, he had a very clean run avoiding any incident and brought his car home in one piece to a 17th place finish.

"It was really good fun," Franchitti said. "I learned a lot. The first part I was really just drafting like you would do in the Indy Car and by the first pit stop I was starting to figure it out. I was starting to side-draft and bump-draft a bit which is good fun.

"It's a bizarre feeling just to go and ram someone there but a couple of guys were really helping me. In the last two stints I was having it flat-footed the whole way, no brake and nothing. Just trying to get momentum. Just a great learning experience."

The only real drama during the race for Franchitti came after lap 30 when he pitted for the first time under caution. He had trouble getting into his pit stall, which meant he dropped from 10th place to 18th.

"I completely messed up the first pit stop," Franchitti said. "I let the revs get too low and the power steering stopped working, so I couldn't get in the box right. I had the best crew there and I made a complete mess of it myself."

The IRL and Indy 500 champion was left a little disappointed with the result and the fact that despite having a fast car he was not able to run at the front when it mattered. He put it down to his lack of experience in the draft, as he had just a few laps to test in such conditions before the race.

"It was in the plan there to get to the front but we just didn't have [the speed]," he said. "The car got a little bit tight and I'm just not good enough yet a drafter to get there I would say. My restarts were good but I'm just lacking that bit of experience, I think, to get to the front. It's more me than the car right now."

Franchitti said he doesn't know yet where he will race next, but he is likely to kick off his NASCAR Busch Series career next weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

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Franchitti qualifies sixth for ARCA race