Friday, September 17, 2021

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Dario Franchitti: “It wasn’t easy to do, it’s not been an easy thing to deal with.”

For the first time since the announcement that he was retiring, Dario Franchitti spoke about the retirement. The Scot was on hand for the 2013 AUTOSPORT Awards to present the Gregor Grant Award to John Surtees.

“It (retiring) wasn’t an easy thing to do, it’s not been an easy thing to deal with,” he said as per “I spent a couple of days thinking of ways to get around it. I thought ‘there’s got to be a way’ – sadly it became pretty apparent pretty quickly there wasn’t. It’s still tough in some ways, I still think a lot about driving a car. The passion is still there to do something.”

Following contact with Takuma Sato on the final lap in the race at Houston, Franchitti’s car lifted off the ground, making contact with the catchfence. The contact ripped most of the front end off of the No. 10 IndyCar, but the driver’s compartment stayed in tact.

As a result of the crash, Franchitti sustained a concussion, two spinal fractures and a fracture to his right ankle.

Franchitti has made 265 starts in his career, winning four championships and won three Indianapolis 500s. His four championships are second only to AJ Foyt on the all-time list, and he is only the third driver in Indy car history to win at least three consecutive titles.  Franchitti became one of only five drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 and the series title in the same season more than once.

“I’ve had a wonderful time, a great career. I wouldn’t call it a career – it was what I loved to do,” he added. “I never called it a job, it’s been an absolute privilege.

“In a lot of ways I’m lucky to be here to take that decision. It’s a kick in the balls but I’ll move on to the next stage.”

As we start to move forward, a lot of people are questioning what Franchitti’s future holds.

Team owner Chip Ganassi sees Franchitti staying involved in the sport to some capacity due to love for it. Ganassi would like to keep Franchitti involved within the Target-Ganassi team.

“I think he’ll make a great ambassador to the sport,” Ganassi commented last month. “I can’t think of anybody who would be better, as somebody that has worldwide recognition and a true interest in the sport of Indy car racing. We want to help him with that.  We have a common interest in the sport, in furthering the sport, and we’ll do it together I’m sure.”

Franchitti said at the awards that he has spoken with Ganassi about doing something next year.

“I’d love to work with the team in IndyCar – I just won’t be behind the wheel anymore,” he commented.

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