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Dario Franchitti out early at St. Pete

Mar 24, 2013, 1:26 PM EDT

Franchitti's normal Target livery. Getty Images

Dario Franchitti is out of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg after hitting the wall at Turn 3 on Lap 18.

Franchitti had qualified 10th and had just made his first pit stop of the day before he slid up the corner and stuffed his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda into the concrete barrier. Afterwards, the four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion chalked it up to cold tires and driver error.

“We’ve really struggled with the car and that’s what I was just saying to [team owner] Chip [Ganassi],” he told NBC Sports Network. “I had to try and make it up somewhere and I just stepped over the line there. Cold tires, hit a bump in [Turn] 3 with the ride height being so low and the low tire pressures, and got in the marbles and hit the wall.

“[It was] totally my mistake. Just pushing too hard to get some kind of – get back on some kind of level peg somehow – and I stepped over the line.”

Franchitti also mentioned that the team was “a long, long way from where we need to be” in terms of making progress on the car.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do,” he said.

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