I need to be honest with my friends in Boston. I love your city – I even lived there for a time recently -- but seriously, can we talk? You have the worst roads in the history of concrete.
Here’s how bad they are: I spent some time this winter riding a motorcycle through the Australian outback, and I can honestly say that dirt roads in the bush were smoother than the streets of Boston.
But that’s the worst thing I can say about the area, and that’s why I was more than happy when I was asked to write a blog for Boston.com this season. I’ll write a new installment every Monday following Izod IndyCar Series races, sharing my experiences and the highs and lows of our amazing sport.
For those who might be new to IndyCar racing, please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Dario Franchitti, three-time IndyCar Series champion and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. I was born and raised in Scotland, came to the US in 1997, and have been racing professionally for more than 20 years. I’m currently a member of Target Chip Ganassi Racing with my teammate, fellow Indy 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
I lived in your fair (but pavement-challenged) city for some of 2009 and 2010 while my wife, Ashley Judd, worked on a graduate degree at Harvard University. I have never been surrounded by so many smart people in my life.
Cambridge was certainly an interesting place. I remember parts of it quite fondly, like a sandwich shop I used to frequent, and running at Fresh Pond. I also remember how bloody cold it was there in the winter. All in all, it was a fascinating, beautiful part of the world that I truly enjoyed, even if it was only for a short time.
That’s part of the reason I was so happy to hear that we’ll be racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in August. I’ve had some experience at the track, so it’s going to be interesting to return. When I raced with NASCAR in 2008, I had my best Sprint Cup Series qualifying performance, seventh – at “The Magic Mile.” I was having a decent race, running around 16th or so, when I was taken out by someone else’s mistake. But I won’t dwell on that now.
I returned to NHMS last summer to announce the upcoming IndyCar race by running a few laps alone in the No. 10 Target car as an exhibition before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The car’s setup was intended for another track, so it wasn’t really as fast as we could have made it, but it was still a good four or five seconds faster than the fastest NASCAR times that day. Not long after that, my teammate Scott went to New Hampshire to test for the first time and said he was flat-out all the way around the track.
So if you want to see something incredible, mark Aug. 14 on your calendar and bounce on over to Loudon. It’s not often you see us go foot-to-the-floor all the way around a flat mile oval, so this is your opportunity.
Until then, be sure to follow Team Target on ABC, ESPN and Versus this season, beginning with the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.
As we prepare to start the season, people ask me how I stay motivated. I’ve won all three of the championships and both Indy 500s within the last four years, yet the motivation to do it again never seems to be a problem. You have to remember that success in racing doesn’t just come from one person. It comes from a lot of hard work from a group of people. The foundation for what I’ve accomplished lies with my team. The motivation to continue winning isn’t just mine; it’s theirs, too. That is a very, very important part of being successful.
Anybody who competes in racing – from team owner to driver to engineer to mechanic – is in a competitive environment. We all thrive on it. When we’re winning, we just want to continue winning. When we’re not winning, we want to get back there as quickly as possible. We’re as motivated now as we ever have been.