Daytona Race Recap
Franchitti and No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Team (NNS)
Late Late Show: On Wednesday, Franchitti was a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS. Tom Selleck and Ziggy Marley joined him on the show. Franchitti toured the LA market earlier in the week and also made a stop on The Best Damn Sports Show Period as part of a media tour on behalf of NASCAR Cup Series title sponsor, Sprint.
All in the Family: Did you know Franchitti’s younger brother Marino is also a race car driver? The 29-year-old resides in London and will contest the full American Le Mans Series season in the LMP2 category for Dyson Racing, alongside co-driver Butch Leitzinger.
Cementing His Status: Sunday morning at 9:30 AM ET Franchitti will be inducted into the California Speedway Walk of Fame. Franchitti, who won the last open wheel race held at the track (IndyCar, 2005) will dip his racing boots in fresh concrete in the traditional ceremony.
Starting on the Right Foot: Franchitti and his No. 40 Fastenal NNS teammates put forth an impressive qualifying effort last Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Initially, they grabbed the pole with their trial laps around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. By session close, they were fourth on the starting grid. Franchitti has been a strong qualifier out of the gate since he first climbed into a stock car last fall. His first run in a stock car, which was the ARCA Re/Max Series race at Talladega Superspeedway last October resulted in a sixth-place start. He then followed up with a third-place starting position in his NNS debut, which took place at the Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park last October, as well. Altogether, he scored one top-five and two top-10 starts out of four NNS efforts last season.
No. 40 Fastenal Dodge (NNS): The No. 40 Fastenal team and Franchitti are entering chassis #653 in the NNS race this weekend at California Speedway. It is the same car the NNS CGRFS program raced at Texas Motor Speedway toward the end of last season when Bryan Clauson earned a 2007 season best 10th-place start and then worked to overcome two setbacks that sent him and team into an unrecoverable lap deficit to finish 28th. It is also the same chassis Juan Pablo Montoya raced in early 2007, when he collected an impressive top-10 start and finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NNS March race (started 10th, finished eighth). Montoya also raced the same car at Darlington in May of ‘07, when he scored a 15th-place finish (started 19th). A.J. Allmendinger is the most recent pilot of the chassis as it is the same car he and the CGRFS team raced in the final race of 2007 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, crossing the finish line in 21st place
Dario Franchitt on running the first COT race on an intermediate-sized race tracki: "I think the biggest challenge is finding the limits of the car, not overdriving the car, not underdriving the car, driving the car free enough that it's going to be quick over a long run, getting used to the compromises of driving the car. And that's before you even go into the race and get used to the new style of racing. How physical the races are, as far as people bumping into each other, that kind of stuff. Again, somewhere like Fontana in an IndyCar, there's one, maybe two lines. In the stock car, there's guys running the white lines, they're guys running up against the wall, all these different things."