INDIANAPOLIS — The last few months have likely been among the most difficult of Dario Franchitti’s life.
Franchitti, a four-time IndyCar Series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, was involved in a vicious crash during the second race of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston at Reliant Park on Oct. 6. The crash left him hospitalized with a spinal fracture, right ankle fracture and a concussion.
A little more than a month later, Franchitti announced to the world that because those injuries he would be unable to continue his racing career.
Franchitti, who on Thursday held his first media availability since the career-ending crash in Houston, has refused to linger on the end of his racing career. Instead, he is just thankful for even having enjoyed a successful career.
“Rather than being kind of bummed about not getting to drive the No. 10 Target car again and other things after that, I’m just very thankful for the career,” Franchitti said.
The Scotsman has faced severe injuries before. But he knew this time things were different.
“I didn’t feel good. I know that,” Franchitti said. “At that point I really was worried because I’d had a serious concussion in 2000, and I was back in the car after I think three weeks. I’d broken my pelvis. I kind of told them I was OK. I got back in the car after three weeks. After three weeks this time, I was in no shape to do anything.”
Soon after is when the announcement came that Franchitti, perhaps one of the greatest IndyCar drivers of his generation, was hanging up his helmet. That hasn’t slowed Franchitti, who continues to recover from his injuries. He hopes to remain involved in Indy car racing in some form with Chip Ganassi Racing going forward.
“I’d love to stay involved in Indy car racing, certainly with the Target team, everybody involved in that. That’s something we’re working on,” Franchitti said. “We’re working to make that happen. Hopefully that will come along soon and I can start really getting involved and working with the team, continuing that.
“I’ve already been doing that, been upstairs giving the engineers a hard time, they’ve been giving me a hard time,” Franchitti said. “It’s something I really want to do, so we’re working to make that happen.”
Given everything that has happened during his career — the Indianapolis 500 victories, the failed NASCAR experiment, the IndyCar Series championships and the career-ending injury — does Franchitti have any regrets?
“None at all,” Franchitti said.