After injuries sustained in the Houston IndyCar race in September, Dario Franchitti has announced his retirement from IndyCar Racing.
“Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority,” Franchitti said in a statement. “I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I’d also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.
“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. 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.”
Following contact with Takuma Sato on the final lap, 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. The pair of spinal fractures have doctors concerned for the future.
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.
“Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it’s really tough to think that the driving side is now over,” Franchitti continued. “I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.
“I’d like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I’d also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all my fans around the world. I can’t thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.
“I’ll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I’ve forged in the sport will last a lifetime.
“Hopefully in time, I’ll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I’ll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I’ve made over the years at Target.
“As my buddy Greg Moore would say, ‘See you up front’”
Beyond the IndyCar success at Chip Ganassi Racing, he has success in other forms of racing.
n 2007, Franchitti became first professional race car driver to ever capture the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Indianapolis 500, an open wheel title and the Rolex 24 At Daytona consecutively, accomplishing the feat in less than one year. Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt are the only others to win the four titles, but neither did so in succession.
“Dario Franchitti has done so much for Target Chip Ganassi Racing so it will be very disappointing to not see him in our cars next season,” Chip Ganassi released in a statement. “But 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. His contributions to the sport of motor racing are too many to list but I can tell you that they go way beyond what he has done on the track. What’s both impressive and unique about Dario is that he has always been a student of racing, someone who not only appreciates the actual science of the sport but also the rich heritage of those racers that have gone before him. This news only serves as the start of next chapter in Dario Franchitti’s racing career – which I expect will be here with Target Chip Ganassi Racing.”
“We have been proud to watch Dario emerge as one of the most exciting drivers in IndyCar, winning three series championships and becoming a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner during his time with Target Chip Ganassi Racing,” Gregg Steinhafel, CEO of Target stated. “Not only has he had a storied career, but his popularity with Target’s guests, his tremendous contributions to racing and his engagement in our community giving efforts have made him an integral part of Team Target. While we’ll miss seeing him drive behind the Bullseye, Dario will always be a member of the Target racing family, and we look forward to seeing him excel in the next phase of his career.”