Dario Franchitti didn’t want to stop racing, but advice from his doctors and the fact that his best friend Greg Moore and former teammate Dan Wheldon had already been lost to horrific accidents, meant his choice was clear: and so Thursday he informed the public that his decision was really not a choice he wanted to make so soon, nevertheless it was one he HAD to make.
The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and four-time IndyCar Series champion said doctors told him it would be too dangerous for him to continue racing because of injuries sustained his frightening crash last month.
“Racing has been my life for over 30 years, and it’s really tough to think that the driving side is now over,” Franchitti said.
Franchitti fractured his spine, broke his right ankle and suffered a concussion in the Oct. 6 race at Houston, where his car made contact with Takuma Sato’s car on the last lap and sailed into a fence. Debris from the accident injured 13 fans in the grandstands and one IndyCar official.
The 40-year-old Franchitti underwent two surgeries on his ankle and recently returned home to Scotland to recover.
“One month removed from the crash, and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post-accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing,” Franchitti said. “They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long-term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.”
IndyCar released the following statement regarding the announcement that Dario Franchitti will end his racing career:
“As a four-time IndyCar Series champion and a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Dario Franchitti has etched his name among the greats of this sport, and his legacy will continue to influence future generations of competitors. His passion was born, in part, from a deep love for the sport and a reverence to its history, and Dario carries that heritage everywhere he travels and shares it with everyone he meets. Dario’s leadership on and off the track has helped shape IndyCar, and we look forward to him remaining involved in the sport he loves.”
The Scot’s stellar open wheel career therefore ends with 31 victories and 33 earned pole positions, placing him eighth and sixth, respectively, on the all-time list. His four titles place him second to legendary A.J. Foyt; he’s only the third IndyCar driver to win three consecutive titles.
“Simply put, Dario is a motorsports legend and will be sorely missed on the race track by everyone in the paddock and in the stands,” noted Chip Ganassi, team owner.
“His contributions to the sport are too many to list, but I can tell you that they go way beyond what he has done on the track.” Ganassi confirmed that the next chapter of Franchitti’s career “will be here with Target Chip Ganassi Racing,” or so he hopes and expects.
Read Franchitti’s full statement here. [inpost_gallery post_id=32524 group=’all’]
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