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NASCAR NEWS 

Franchitti not unhappy with debut

Dario Franchitti was not too disappointed following a 32nd place finish on his Busch Series debut, claiming he learned a lot from his third stock car outing for Chip Ganassi Racing.

The Scot had a very good qualifying which backed up his strong pace in practice. He put his car third on the grid and despite initially dropping a few places he was able to run as high as second after the first 100 laps.

He then started experiencing problems with the brakes on his No. 42 Ganassi Dodge, and that caused him to run into Brandon Miller on lap 192. His car had damage on the right front and from then on his hopes of taking a top ten finish, which had previously looked on the cards, vanished.

"The car was good, the start with the car was really good," Franchitti said. "After the second stop we just got really tight, unbelievably tight, I don't know why.

"That allowed some guys to dive inside and then I started to lose the brakes, which I was really surprised with because I didn't think I was using them that hard.

"Then I came behind [Miller], I jumped on the brake pedal and it went to the floor. With a bit more experience I probably would've pumped it before that, but it went to the floor and I hit him really hard.

"I wrecked the front of the car, wrecked his car and from that point the car was damaged, got a lap penalty for that and we only went downhill from there."

Franchitti was held in the pits for a lap as a penalty for causing the incident. He was one of five drivers who got punished for rough driving, but the Scot didn't argue the penalty, instead settling the incident after talking to NASCAR officials.

"The guys there were very fair," Franchitti added. "They asked me what happened, I told them what happened and they were fine with that. I understand in a race with so many cautions they wanted to talk to a lot of people. But you know, it was fine."

Once again, the Ganassi driver said his focus remained on learning, which is why he wasn't sad about his day ending the way it did after such a promising start.

"I was looking good there for a while running second and I thought 'this is pretty good'," he said. "But regardless of the bad result we still learned a heck of a lot.

"That's what the '07 programme I'm doing is about; it's about learning. If this happens a lot (next year) in a way I won't be as relaxed about it."

Race winner David Reutimann had some good words to say about Franchitti after the race, having raced close to him during the afternoon.

"The guy is good, "Reutimann said. "He's smooth. This place is not an easy racetrack. For a guy's second race, it was pretty amazing, pretty impressive. I'm not sure what he's got in store for us. He's going to do nothing but get better, and he's already good."

Franchitti had a last minute change on his team this time, as Tony Glover took over as his crew chief for the race after Bryan Pattie, who worked with the Scot in his first two stock car races, was unable be in attendance at Memphis due to some personal issues.

The next step in Franchitti's learning process will come next week when he tests a Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow for the first time at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Monday.

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