Franchitti blames Rahal for crash

Dario Franchitti blamed Graham Rahal for the crash that took him out of the Kansas round of the IndyCar Series and cost him the points lead

Franchitti blames Rahal for crash

Ganassi driver Franchitti had got back into the top six at Kansas having started at the rear after his qualifying time was disallowed. But he slewed into the wall while attempting to make his final pitstop with 52 laps to go and had to retire.

Franchitti felt Rahal was responsible for the incident, suggesting that the Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver was going too slowly as he dropped into the pitlane on the inside of Turn 3.

"He braked really, really early," said Franchitti. "That's one of the places you can make up time or lose time here. Things are so close on the track that you've really got to maximise your pit entries and exits.

"We were just brushing the brakes in sixth, and Graham looked like he was hard on the brakes. I've no idea you could go in the pit that slow. I got on the brakes, the fronts locked, and it blew both front tyres out."

However, Rahal said he gave plenty of warning by dropping his left wheels below the white line before committing to the pitlane and that Franchitti crashed by himself.

"I have no clue what happened. I'll go talk to him, but all of a sudden I saw out of my right rear mirror the thing just went straight and I was like, 'Whoa, what happened there?'" said Rahal.

"I signalled that I was coming into pitlane by putting two wheels over the white line, and I did it right off Turn 2, and then I came back out to the white line and ducked in.

"I hit the brakes once I ducked, and it was pretty late - later than I have ever hit the brakes going into a pitlane. And all of a sudden I see this flash going by and straight into the fence.

"With the speed he was carrying, he wasn't going to make it anyway whether I was there or not."

The accident meant that pre-race championship leader Franchitti fell to third in the standings, four points behind new leader Tony Kanaan.

The other notable incident during the Kansas event was Helio Castroneves' early collision with Vitor Meira, who slowed suddenly in front of the Penske driver as he was coming through the field having also received a qualifying penalty.

The impact ended Meira's race, and smashed Castroneves' front wing, sending debris into EJ Viso's car.

Castroneves, who recovered to second after changing his wing under the resultant yellow, said Meira had taken him by surprise.

"He had some kind of problem," Castroneves said. "All of a sudden he lifted. There was nothing I could do."

But Meira blamed the incident on Hideki Mutoh, who dipped unexpectedly in front of the Foyt car, causing Meira to lift quickly.

"He entered high and just tried to use the whole track in front of me," Meira said. "I couldn't go anywhere, so I had to lift. I would understand if that was 15 laps from the end, but not 15 laps from the start."

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