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. Beretta scores World Challenge pole at Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Photo: PWC Photo: PWC

    Beretta’s Ferrari to start up front for Round 5 of season.

  2. Newgarden puts CFH into Fast Six for first time; seeks elusive Long Beach result

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT

    JosefLBgrid Getty Images

    Newgarden qualifies sixth for Long Beach race, best outside IndyCar’s established “power trio.”

  3. Penske qualifying dominance continues in Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    With 1-2-5 in qualifying at Long Beach, Team Penske’s hot streak on Saturdays continues to open 2015.

  4. Taylor brothers, BMW take Long Beach TUDOR Championship wins

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:49 PM EDT

    Photo: IMSA Photo: IMSA

    Polesitting entries bring it home Saturday at Long Beach for the TUDOR Championship.

  5. Dixon takes first step to erasing Long Beach kryptonite with P3 in qualifying

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    DixonLBquals Getty Images

    Scott Dixon hopes for success at Long Beach, a track he considers a “thorn in the side.”

  6. Hunter-Reay upholds Honda’s honor, qualifies fourth at Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    RHRp4 Getty Images

    Ryan Hunter-Reay begins rebound from NOLA wreck by qualifying fourth in Long Beach.

  7. Townsend Bell confirmed in DRR/Kingdom Racing entry for Indy 500

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:44 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR AP

    NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell returns to the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing.

  8. Castroneves secures pole in IndyCar qualifying at Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT

    HelioPoe Getty Images

    Helio Castroneves brings Team Penske its third consecutive pole to start the season.

  9. WATCH: IndyCar qualifying from Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:52 PM EDT

    Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais

    IndyCar qualifying about to go on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

  10. Jack Harvey wins last second pole for Indy Lights race in Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    Jack Harvey will start from the pole for Sunday’s Indy Lights race in Long Beach.

  11. GP2: Vandoorne fights back to claim Bahrain feature race win

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    _G7C7421

    American driver Alexander Rossi performs admirably to finish third, having lost the lead of the race with two laps remaining.

  12. Alonso: Reaching Q2 a nice surprise for McLaren

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Jenson Button was less fortunate in qualifying, though, as a problem on his car sidelined him without setting a lap time.

  13. Carlos Sainz Jr shines as top rookie in Bahrain qualifying

    Apr 18, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Despite expecting to struggle in Bahrain, Sainz will start the race from ninth place on Sunday.

  14. Grosjean disappointed with P10 in Bahrain GP qualifying

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Grosjean 184 Getty Images

    Grosjean believes he could have qualified higher up the grid, but is pleased to have maintained his 100% Q3 record in 2015.

  15. Simon Pagenaud fastest in IndyCar’s final Long Beach practice

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT

    Simon Pagenaud Simon Pagenaud

    Simon Pagenaud led IndyCar’s final practice session in Long Beach.

  16. Daniil Kvyat puzzled by Q1 elimination in Bahrain

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:07 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Qualifying Getty Images

    Daniel Ricciardo fares far better in the sister Red Bull, qualifying seventh in Bahrain.

  17. Webber hits out at tire-focused single seater series

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Australian F1 Grand Prix Getty Images

    Former Red Bull driver believes that the focus should not be on tire management, but instead on driver ability and pace.

  18. Rosberg disappointed to qualify behind Vettel in Bahrain

    Apr 18, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Rosberg misses out on the front row for the second time in three races, exposing Mercedes to the threat from Ferrari in the race.

  19. IndyCar: Another flip at the Coyne: Conor Daly to fill in for Rocky Moran Jr.

    Apr 18, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT

    Photo: Chris Owens/IndyCar Photo: Chris Owens/IndyCar

    Conor Daly gets a last-minute IndyCar shot with Dale Coyne Racing.

  20. Vettel confident Ferrari can attack Mercedes from P2

    Apr 18, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Four-time world champion qualified second for the Bahrain Grand Prix, splitting the Mercedes drivers at the front of the grid.