What a great weekend at Milwaukee for the entire ArcaEx team. After running well for so many weeks, but having something always seem to bite us, things finally fell into place and we made it to Victory Lane at The Milwaukee Mile. While it was my second oval track victory, it was my first in the IndyCar Series.
I've done well at The Milwaukee Mile in the past, but something always seemed to go wrong. I remember one time, one of the brake lines got cut so there was absolutely no brakes, which made things very interesting. Yet I still managed to finish fifth.
It was nice to go back to a track where I had the same amount of experience as everybody else. Last year, I missed a lot of the IndyCar Series tracks because of my back operation. It was good to get back and start on a level playing field this past weekend.
It was also a great feeling to win at a track where my close friend, Greg Moore, as well as fellow countryman, Jim Clark, had taken victory. The Milwaukee Mile is really a driver's track, so it was nice to win there.
We had tested at Milwaukee last month. At that test, we were running all four cars from the Andretti Green stable, and we just didn't have it right. We were fundamentally wrong with the setup. The engineers, Peter Gibbons, Tino Belli, Allen McDonald and all the engineering staff, went back and really thought about it, and we went back to Milwaukee with a completely different approach. When we returned to Milwaukee for the race, they completely turned the setup upside down. From the first runs, I kind of knew we were just looking for small things, not for miracles and you see the results of it. I was doing lap times in the race I couldn't have dreamed of doing during the test.
That's just one example of the many things that our team owners, Michael Andretti, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree, have put together. It's that kind of strength you need to challenge for championships and race wins.
It was an exciting win for everyone on the ArcaEx team, but I was especially happy for Kyle Moyer. He's the general manager at Andretti Green Racing, but he used to be my crew chief, then he was crew manager and now he's general manager. Kyle's been with me since the end of 1997. He doesn't really like the spotlight and kind of hides away after the races, but it's very special to win with him.
Last year, Kyle was a huge support to me during my surgery and rehabilitation. He's a real friend and the guy that's there all the time. When things aren't going right, he's the first one to give me a hard time, but he's unbelievably supportive. Allen McDonald, my engineer, is another terrific guy. He's very nice to work with and smart. They gave me a great car at Milwaukee, so it was nice to see those two reap the benefits of a win.
So, it was great to get back in to Victory Lane. Hopefully, it won't take long to get there again.
---- Dario Franchitti
IRL IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti drives the #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Andretti Green Racing. He is providing a diary to ESPN.com throughout the 2004 season. His Web site can be found at: www.franchitti.com.