A furious Dario Franchitti, who won seven days earlier in California, blamed Graham Rahal for the crash which ended the Bathgate driver’s charge through the field in the latest round of the IndyCar Championship in Kansas.
The 35-year-old Scot had worked his way through from the back of 22-car field to sixth place when, with 52 of the scheduled 200-laps of the 1.5-mile oval circuit remaining, he darted into the pits for his final scheduled stop.
Rahal though, who was also entering the tight entry to the pits, inexplicably slowed dramatically causing Franchitti — who started the race leading the championship by 15 points — to slew his Team Ganassi car into the pitwall.
“He braked really, really early,” Franchitti, who had qualified second-fastest before being relegated to the back row after being handed a penalty for crossing a white line, explained today.
“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.
“We were on course for, at least, another good points-scoring finish. But who’s to say what might have happened if we’d managed to keep racing. I certainly wasn’t ruling out a podium finish with the strategy and pace we had. It’s disappointing.”
The accident meant Franchitti, who watched from the pits as his Ganassi team-mate and defending champ Scott Dixon won the race, slipped to third in the championship race, four points behind new leader, Brazilian Tony Kanaan.