FRANCHITTI PINING FOR ANOTHER INDY 500 RUN
Franchitti Pining For Another Indy 500 Run
Two-Time Winner Says He's More Laid Back
May 10, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti has had a difficult start to the IndyCar season, fueling him to turn things around this month.
The four-time series champion contemplated retirement in 2007 but said in an interview with RTV6 Sports Director Dave Furst that retirement is not an option now.
"In years past, I always used to have this plan that I'm going to retire at this point," Franchitti said. "That went out the window about five years ago."
Instead, Franchitti has embraced the sport more. He still has another year left on his contract with Target Chip Ganassi. Along with change in the series, Franchitti has adapted to his own change.
"I think I'm more laid back, for sure, in some ways more confident in what I'm doing," Franchitti said.
Franchitti, who turns 39 on Pole Day, is also more reflective, but believes he has plenty of room to grow as he approaches his 40s.
"I'm pretty bad for (not enjoying the moment). I'm kind of a pessimist in life, so I don't really maybe enjoy those moments," he said. "I take stuff pretty seriously, probably more serious than I should."
Franchitti has had plenty of proud moments, among them in 2005, when the Andretti Green racing team swept the top four spots in St. Petersburg, led by teammate Dan Wheldon. Tony Kanaan finished second, Franchitti third and Bryan Herta fourth.
"We used to say to ourselves, 'We'll never have this again,'" Franchitti said. "I think we all realized we probably wouldn't, and it was true."
In 1999, Franchitti lost his friend, Greg Moore, in a crash at the California Speedway. Last year, Wheldon was killed in a crash in Las Vegas.
Returning to racing this season required discipline in managing emotions for Franchitti.
"I'm still at the stage that it's difficult to remember the happy memories right now," he said. "It's still the pain, and that happened when we lost Greg, too. It was a few years before I could just enjoy the fun memories, without the pain."
When I get to the track and I put my race hat on, I can't and I don't let thoughts like that get into my head," Franchitti said. "I switch off, and my focus is all on that car back there and working with my guys. I'm trying to win the race."
Franchitti, Kanaan and Justin Wilson head up the driver's association, fighting for changes in the name of safety, be it the car or racetrack, determined that the loss of friends will not be in vain.
"That's what I'd like, me personally, Dan's legacy to be," Franchitti said. "Greg's death really moved things on with safety. It should never have happened, very much like Dan's should never have happened. It there's anything positive about it, it's that it accelerates safety."
Franchitti hopes to put himself on the Borg Warner trophy again, bookending Wheldon's win in 2011.
"I'm very proud that my likeness is next to Dan's, and I'd love to be on there again, too," Franchitti said. "At some point, I'd love to see Tony's beautiful face on the trophy."