FORT WORTH, Texas -- Seventh-place finishers in Izod IndyCar Series races generally don't come to the winner's media interview, but Saturday night's did at Texas Motor Speedway.
Dario Franchitti was furious, and while it wasn't clear if he came to the news conference voluntarily or was asked to, he certainly wanted to be seen and heard.
The three-time series champion vehemently disagreed with the way the starting order was determined for the second of two races. After the first, which Franchitti won, all 30 drivers turned around tires in a made-for-TV production.
Series points leader Will Power turned the tire bearing No. 3. Franchitti got what was left: No. 28.
That meant Franchitti had to labor through a mixed-up, congested field while Power sailed along near the front. Power took the lead on lap 40 and won the race, his first on an oval track, in relatively easy fashion. Franchitti scrambled to salvage seventh.
Power, who finished third in the first race, outscored Franchitti by 14 points in the races, giving Power a 21-point lead heading to next weekend's race in Milwaukee.
Franchitti and Power battled to the finish last season, with Franchitti winning the series title by just five points. This fight figures to be just as competitive. The thought had Franchitti steaming as each of Saturday's races paid an equal number of points.
"Through no fault of myself or (my) team, we had a massive handicap," he said. "(We had) great pit stops; I drove as hard as I could all night. We made up 21 places and then, through no fault of our own, lost a load of championship points."
He wasn't finished.
"There's enough variables out there. We don't need to be throwing dice to be deciding grid positions. That made me mad.
"I'm sitting there, OK, I won the first race, but at the same point my emotion right now has been pissed off about the hand we were dealt."
Power understood and acknowledged being as happy with the pre-race turn of the tires as he was in reaching victory lane.
"I knew (he) was screwed," Power said of Franchitti. "I thought coming into this race, you don't control your own destiny, basically.
"It's just a draw. It was going to be very unfair for someone. It happened to be Dario. In a tightly fought championship, you just can't have that."
Franchitti, who dropped at least one expletive in radio and TV interviews, insisted the finishers of the first race should have been inverted for the second -- with the winner starting last -- but that system wouldn't have created the drama this one had.
Several drivers used the tire-turning process to entertain the announced crowd of 73,000. Brazilian boyhood friends Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves hammed it up, with Kanaan's reaction to turning No. 1 a memorable moment.
IndyCar remains a distant cousin to NASCAR with low TV ratings, a relatively small fan base and a general lack of energy outside its own paddock. An event like Saturday's was a chance to catch the eyes of others.
The Firestone Twin 275s, the first doubleheader for open-wheel racing in 30 years, had an easy-to-follow format with competitive cars. The Texas track again delivered a thrilling product.
There were sparks from the cars as well as the drivers. The car that won the Indianapolis 500 was involved in the night's only crash, a two-car mess in turn four in the first race. Dan Wheldon, the 500 winner, was the TV analyst watching his car, driven by rookie Wade Cunningham, sustain significant damage.
But this race won't be remembered for racing or the crash or the uniqueness of two races in one night. It will be the random draw and the criticism of it.
"At the end of the day it's a sport," Franchitti said of IndyCar racing. "It's entertainment, too. They have to balance (that)."