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Franchitti suffers engine failure before start of Iowa race

Newton, IA (Sports Network) - Dario Franchitti's bid for a fourth straight IZOD IndyCar Series championship took a huge hit on Saturday night when he blew an engine prior to the start of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway.

Franchitti started on the pole position since he won Friday's qualifying heat races on this 0.875-mile oval. Just after Alex Tagliani's car stopped on the backstretch during the pace laps, delaying the green flag from being waved, Franchitti had smoke coming out of the back of his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. He was using the same Honda engine from his Indianapolis 500- winning car.

"(The engine) was making a very strange noise, and I had just come on the radio to say, 'Is this thing making an odd noise'," Franchitti said. "After that, it just let go. It's very disappointing."

One week ago at The Milwaukee Mile, Franchitti crashed with 30 laps remaining and finished 19th. He also started on the pole in that race.

It's the first time Franchitti has failed to finish consecutive races since the 2004 season-finale at Texas (accident) and the 2005 season-opener at Homestead (engine).

Franchitti, who won his record third consecutive and fourth overall IndyCar title last year, entered this race seventh in the point standings (-69).

06/23 23:43:31 ET

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