Dario Franchitti was extremely upset after the second race at Texas last weekend. Today he certainly made up for it, winning at Milwaukee from the pole.
The win ties Dario with Rick Mears for ninth all-time on the wins list. Just as important, he tied Will Power for the top spot in the series championship standings. Entering this weekend, Dario trailed Power by 21 points.
The race got off to a slow start, as Ryan Hunter-Reay lost control of his loose race car going into the first turn just after the green flag was waived. The second caution came out just before teams were getting ready to make green flag pit stops. Ana Beatriz barely brushed the wall, but the real action was on pit lane afterwards.
Takuma Sato ran into both Scott Dixon and his own crew member coming into his pit box. Sato was given a penalty, which really set the tone for the rest of the day for KV Racing.
Dario led the first 115 laps of the race before Tony Kanaan took over the lead on lap 116. Kanaan went on to lead 31 laps in the race. Power caught a big break, as he was about to be put one lap down by the leader, but JR Hildebrand smacked the wall in turn four to bring out a caution.
EJ Viso had been running near the top five for most of the race, before he lost control of his KV Racing car with about 60 laps remaining. We are seven races into the season, and today marked the fourth DNF for Viso on the year.
Helio Castroneves made his way towards the front, taking the lead for 33 laps. He had a left rear tire going down, and the crew was deciding whether or not they should come in. Everyone in the field had enough fuel to make it to the end.
Unfortunately, about that time, Kanaan lost control of his car coming out of turn four. He said he was pushing too hard to try to catch Castroneves. He spun and hit the outside wall hard, ending his day.
What started off as a great day for KV Racing Technology, ended on a sour note. All three cars qualified in the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions for this race, led by Kanaan. Both he and Viso were running well before they lost control and took themselves out of the race. Sato recovered from his penalty, and came home in seventh.
Graham Rahal and Oriol Servia had relatively quiet days, but both joined Dario on the podium. Rahal’s second place finish was the second one this year for him, and his third overall this season.
Will Power recovered from a disastrous 17th place starting position to finish in fourth, and Danica Patrick scored her first top five finish of the season. She seemed to be the only bright spot for Andretti Autosport today though. Conway and Andretti finished 12th and 13th respectively, and Hunter-Reay crashed on the first lap.
James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, Helio Castroneves, and Justin Wilson rounded out the top ten. The third place and sixth place finishes for Newman Haas were very good, but not surprising. Both drivers have run well at every track this season, and Servia has actually taken back third place in the points standings following today’s race.
While some will say that the racing Gods made sure Franchitti was taken care of this weekend, the only thing that matters now is that he and Power are now tied for the championship lead, heading into the next race, Saturday night at Iowa Speedway.