Honda: Successful at the Iowa Speedway

By: Evander Klum

Dario Franchitti Indianapolis 500 Champion has made it two wins in the last four races ahead of Andretti Green Racing teammate macro Andretti across the finish line last Sunday at the Iowa Speedway held in conjunction with the inaugural Iowa Corn Growers Indy 250 in front of a sellout crowd of 35,838.

Beginning at the inside of the second row, Franchitti successfully shunned all three multi-car crashes which caused the delayed and elimination of more than half of the 19 car starting field. Franchitti was able to lead throughout the final third of the 250-lap event leading 96 laps for his second IndyCar Series victory of the season with a remarkable point lead in the championship standings after 8 of 17 races.

In addition it was also the second 1-2 result for the Andretti Green Racing in the last three races as Tony Kaanan and Franchitti finished first and second respectively at The Milwaukee Mile this month.

Dario's win has given him a total of 16 Honda-powered victories in North American open-wheel competition surpassing Alex Zanardi who has only 15 wins as Honda's most successful driver in Indy-style racing.

Last weekend's race at Iowa Speedway has proven to be a success for the Honda Indy V8 engine and that shows 100 percent reliability throughout 7,241 laps of testing, practice, qualifying, and then finally at last Sunday's race totaling to 6,493 miles covered with temperatures ranging from the mid-90s on Friday to as low as 70s during the race.

Andretti with less than seven-hundredths of a second behind the finish was able to have his best result in what has been a difficult 2007 season and his first ever oval-track finish of the year. The second-year IndyCar driver led by four laps but never really got the chance to lead.

Aside from Adretti, Scott Sharp was also able to rank third while Buddy Rice places fourth and Sarah Fisher finishing in seventh place---all had their bets results this year. Panther Racing's Victor Meira led 71 laps and was trying to achieve his first IndyCar victory before suspension failure makes him to retire on Lap 216. The accident was able to take out from the race Danica Patrick, A.J. Foyt IV, Sam Hornish Jr., Kosuke Matsuura, Kanaan, Jeff Simmons, and Tomas Scheckter.

Dario Franchitti driving the #27 Andretti Green Racing Honda has started in 3rd and finished 1st. this is the second win for 2007 of Franchitti and his 6th career IndyCar victory and his seventh top-five finish in eight races for this season.

Because of his achievements, Franchitti becomes Honda's all-time winning driver with 16 opne-wheel victories in CART and IndyCar competition. Franchitti said, "It was just a great job by the guys all weekend long. This may be a short track, but it drives a lot like a super speedway. We took a bit of a gamble on our last pit stop [taking fuel only and running the final 104 laps on the same set of tires] to gain some track position, so I certainly didn't need to see that last yellow. All credit to Firestone and to Honda, who once again gave us a great engine. There were no team orders, and I know Marco [Andretti] wants a victory just as much as I do, so that made the final run pretty exciting for both of us. It was a very physical race, but a lot of fun at the same time."

Marco Andretti driving the #26 Andretti Green Racing Honda has started at the 12th position and finished 2nd but was regarded as the best finish for the 2007 and the first oval track finish. When asked about the race Andretti said, "This place is different. The G [loads] are incredible. It's very physical, and I've been fighting a sinus infection or something today, so I'm beat. In the final laps, I tried as hard as I could but I was running too high [on the track] and could never get a really good run on Dario [Franchitti]. Finishing second is definitely a confidence boost for me after the way the season started. It certainly helped us in the championship points and was a great day for Andretti Green Racing."

Robert Clarke, President, Honda Performance Development on the recent race: "It was another successful weekend for Honda, with 100 per cent reliability throughout the weekend in weather conditions that varied from hot and humid to very cool. Congratulations to the Andretti Green organization and in particular to Dario Franchitti, who today passed the great Alex Zanardi to become our most successful driver in North American open-wheel racing with 16 victories. Dario has been a member of the Honda family since 1997, and I couldn't be more pleased for him to have this honor."

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