Franchitti wins at Milwaukee
|By Matt Beer
||Sunday, June 19th 2011, 22:46 GMT
Dario Franchitti moved into an equal points lead with Will Power by taking victory on the IndyCar Series' return to Milwaukee Mile, although the Australian was able to salvage fourth place having started only 17th.
Ganassi driver Franchitti led much of the race, with Helio Castroneves (Penske) and Tony Kanaan his main rivals, in the latter's strongest run since joining KV Racing Technology for 2011.
All three drivers had stints in the lead amid some classic racing on the much-loved short oval, but both the Brazilians would hit trouble in the closing stages, with Kanaan spinning into the wall with 29 laps to go, and Castroneves having to pit with a deflating tyre, leaving him ninth at the flag.
Graham Rahal therefore came through to second after a strong run for Ganassi's new second team, with Newman/Haas' Oriol Servia taking his first IndyCar Series podium in third after running with the frontrunners all day. His team-mate James Hinchcliffe made rapid progress from a midfield start to take sixth.
Power had looked unlikely to get much from Milwaukee as he fell as low as 19th in the opening stint, but he clawed his way up the order as the race progressed and eventually salvaged fourth place ahead of Andretti Autosport's Danica Patrick.
Scott Dixon (Ganassi) fell down the order from his second row start and was then caught up in an early pitlane incident with KV's Takuma Sato and Penske's Ryan Briscoe, caused by Sato pulling into the wrong pit stall. Dixon and Sato recovered to seventh and eighth, with Briscoe 11th behind Dreyer & Reinbold's Justin Wilson.
Sato ended up being KV's best finisher, despite all three of its cars running in the top six at first. As well as Kanaan's crash, EJ Viso also hit the wall hard while fighting in the front group.
Other drivers in trouble included Ana Beatriz, whose Dreyer & Reinbold car needed a long stop repairs after a brush with the wall, solo crashers JR Hildebrand (Panther) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti), and Alex Lloyd and Sebastian Saavedra - who collided on a mid-race restart.
Simona de Silvestro took the start after her heavy qualifying crash but withdrew early on.
Results - 225 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1h56m43.5877s
2. Graham Rahal Ganassi + 1.4271s
3. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas + 2.7703s
4. Will Power Penske + 3.8756s
5. Danica Patrick Andretti + 4.2289s
6. James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas + 5.2021s
7. Scott Dixon Ganassi + 5.7803s
8. Takuma Sato KV + 6.1011s
9. Helio Castroneves Penske + 6.3643s
10. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold + 6.8905s
11. Ryan Briscoe Penske + 8.2475s
12. Mike Conway Andretti + 8.9469s
13. Marco Andretti Andretti + 9.8659s
14. Charlie Kimball Ganassi + 1 lap
15. James Jakes Dale Coyne + 2 laps
16. Ed Carpenter Sarah Fisher + 2 laps
17. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold + 3 laps
Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt 196 laps
Tony Kanaan KV 194 laps
EJ Viso KV 163 laps
JR Hildebrand Panther 120 laps
Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 79 laps
Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 78 laps
Vitor Meira Foyt 69 laps
Simona de Silvestro HVM 11 laps
Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 0 laps