Skip to content

Dario Franchitti discusses retirement and his future (VIDEO)

Dec 19, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

For the first time since his career-ending accident this past October at the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, four-time IndyCar Series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti held a press conference today in Indianapolis to talk about his retirement and his future going forward in the sport.

Franchitti sustained multiple injuries, including a broken right ankle, spinal fractures and a concussion, in a last-lap crash during Race 2 of the weekend at Houston’s Reliant Park on Oct. 6. A little more than a month later, the Scotsman announced that he would have to end his illustrious career as a result.

When first forced to deal with the fact he’d never be able to race again without risking permanent damage to his health, Franchitti said that it took him two days to tell his team owner, Chip Ganassi.

During that period, he pondered over any possible way to keep racing but realized it was a futile endeavor.

“I spent two days thinking, ‘OK, how I can get around this here?,'” Franchitti said. “I’ve done it before. In 2003, I drove with a broken back in one race until Dr. [Terry] Trammell found out and got really upset with me.

“I’ve driven with quite a few broken body parts over the years. But I was like, ‘There’s got a be a way, there’s got to be some kind of negotiation’ and there wasn’t.”

Not knowing if his career would continue at the time, Franchitti then talked to good friend Tony Kanaan about the possibility of taking over his No. 10 car just in case.

“I said to Tony, ‘Tony, I don’t know how this is going to work out, man,'” he recalled. “…And that’s when I said to him, ‘If I don’t, for whatever reason, if I’m not able to drive anymore, I would love for you to drive the 10 car. That would be my dream.’

“Really, that day was the first time I thought that I might be in trouble here. That was pretty tough.”

Franchitti eventually got his wish as Kanaan, first signed to drive Ganassi’s No. 8 Chevrolet in October, has moved over to the No. 10 with Ryan Briscoe taking over the No. 8. The Ganassi camp appears to be stout going into 2014, and this morning, Franchitti re-iterated his desire to continue working with the team.

“That’s something we’re working on,” he said. “We’re working to make that happen so hopefully, it’ll all come along soon and I can start really getting involved in working with the team…It’s something I really want to do.”

For a driver that’s given so much to North American open-wheel racing, it would be a fitting epilogue for his story. Through the years, Franchitti has achieved some of the biggest accomplishments there are to achieve in the sport.

But in his mind, one of the defining moments of his career came long before his IndyCar success or putting his face on the Borg-Warner Trophy three times.

In 1991, a young Franchitti was on the verge of winning the Formula Vauxhall Junior series in Europe, and he knew how critical a championship would be for his career.

“It was the last race of the season and I pretty much had to win the championship,” Franchitti recalled. “And I did. And that got me to [Sir] Jackie Stewart’s attention, which started the ball rolling to get me here. Without that, there wouldn’t be no ‘here.”

Stewart, the Formula One legend, has been one of many that have reached out to Franchitti in recent weeks. Now, as he heads into retirement, Franchitti says he’ll be counting on his racing peers to guide him.

“One of the things for me, as a lover of the sport, was that a lot of my heroes reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, this retirement thing’s not that bad’,” he said. “I’m going to lean heavily on a lot of those guys to help me navigate my way through it.”

Latest Posts
  1. Takuma Sato ends 2015 on a good note

    Sep 1, 2015, 6:37 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy TakumaSato.com) (Photo courtesy TakumaSato.com)

    Sato improved four spots in the driver standings over his 2014 result.

  2. Ryan Briscoe finishes short 2015 season with top-five finish

    Sep 1, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Firestone 600 - Practice Getty Images

    Substituting for James Hinchcliffe, Briscoe ended his abridged 2015 with his first top-five finish of the year.

  3. Derrick Walker reflects on IndyCar tenure and future

    Sep 1, 2015, 4:07 PM EDT

    DerrickWalker2

    Walker spoke with racing journalist Gordon Kirby about his two years in charge of competition and operations.

  4. Social Roundup: IndyCar season-ending banquet

    Sep 1, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    indycar logo

    A look at the festivities held in San Francisco on Monday night.

  5. IndyCar’s testing plans for Road America, updates for road course

    Sep 1, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT

    Generac Grand Prix Getty Images

    Track president George Bruggenthies provided details on what to expect at the track next June.

  6. Hulkenberg extends contract with Force India for two more years

    Sep 1, 2015, 9:19 AM EDT

    HulkLaunch15 Getty Images

    Hulkenberg announces two-year extension with Force India F1.

  7. Ten with Townsend: Sonoma and 2015 IndyCar debrief

    Sep 1, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    dixonconfetti Getty Images

    NBCSN’s Townsend Bell checks in for the final IndyCar installment of “Ten with Townsend” for 2015, after Sonoma.

  8. Dixon’s latest title a story of consistency, comeback, typical “Ice Man” cool

    Aug 31, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    DixonChamp2 AP

    MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno reflects on the latest championship achieved by Scott Dixon and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team.

  9. Damien Power hits Sonoma in person, live tweets, preps for IndyCar video series

    Aug 31, 2015, 5:35 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    Damien Power hits Sonoma to meet up with brother Will. Hilarity ensues.

  10. Gabby Chaves confirmed as 2015 IndyCar rookie-of-the-year

    Aug 31, 2015, 12:27 PM EDT

    GCroty15 Getty Images

    Chaves first driver in nearly a decade to win both Indy 500, IndyCar top rookie honors in same season.

  11. Gonzalez delivers huge result for Coyne with No. 18 car’s best finish of ninth

    Aug 31, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    IndyCar’s biggest underdog driver, team has their day at Sonoma.

  12. RHR, Kimball bank podiums; others throughout field star under-the-radar at Sonoma

    Aug 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    SonomaPodium AP

    The rest of the stories of note, to cap off the IndyCar season at Sonoma.

  13. As Justin Wilson is remembered, Oriol Servia hopes he did the car, family proud (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:39 PM EDT

    ServiaRecap AP

    It wasn’t the result, but the strength, of Oriol Servia in Justin Wilson’s car this weekend that shown through.

  14. Power, Newgarden and Castroneves run out of luck in championship hunt (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:34 PM EDT

    Will Power, Josef Newgarden Will Power, Josef Newgarden

    A look at how the championship hopes for the three drivers ended in the GoPro GP of Sonoma.

  15. Double points reverse Montoya’s IndyCar championship hopes (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT

    Juan Pablo Montoya Juan Pablo Montoya

    Juan Pablo Montoya blamed the double-points awarded in the season finale for missing out on the IndyCar championship.

  16. Rahal’s dream season finally hits trouble in Sonoma finale (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT

    RahalLoss AP

    Rahal endures disastrous finale at Sonoma, falls from second to fourth after 18th place finish.

  17. Scott Dixon captures Sonoma race win and 2015 IndyCar championship (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 7:18 PM EDT

    DixonTitle1 AP

    Dixon wins race, title in Sonoma in dramatic fashion.