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Dario makes another early exit

Dario Franchitti's season took yet another disastrous turn when he crashed out of the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston on the opening lap

The Team KOOL Green driver had been fastest in Friday qualifying but was pipped to pole by Gil de Ferran. He then lost second to Jimmy Vasser at the start of the race and clouted the wall while trying to fight back. Franchitti tried to continue but his rear suspension was broken and he slid into the tyres at the next corner.

"Jimmy got a pretty good start and got inside me," Dario explained. "Once someone gets down the inside line here it's like a freight train effect and they all come rushing past you.

"I was trying to get back into the line but I was out pretty wide and on the dirt. I hit the wall with the back wheel first which slapped it round so I hit with the front wheel too. Then as I came down to the next turn I guess something was broken because I just went straight off."

Franchitti, who only lost the title on countback a year ago, has yet to win a race in 2000 but remains 11th in the championship.

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