FRANCHITTI FIGHTING EBBS IN 2012
Franchitti fighting ebbs in 2012
August 1, 2012
LEXINGTON - In his 15 years of major league open-wheel racing, Dario Franchitti knows better than most that there are ebbs and flows.
For the last three seasons, he experienced the flows of racing, winning championships in the Izod IndyCar Series each of those seasons.
This year comes the ebb. He stands eighth in the points chase as the season turns to August and with time running out on a four-peat.
"That's part of racing, and I think it evens out," he said during a recent teleconference. "There's been some periods when just nothing would go right, and then certainly the last three years, things would. If there was a 50-50 situation, it would tend to go my way. And this year and the years previous, if it was a 50-50, maybe it doesn't work out, and that's just part of life."
Since his 2009 return from a one-season NASCAR sabbatical, Franchitti's finished in the top 10 of every race but 12. However, six of those have come this season.
"I think myself and every other driver goes through exactly the same thing. Whether it's on-track incidents or whether it's the first race of the year, running out of fuel in the last corner, there's times before where we would have run out of fuel crossing the finish line."
Since winning the Indianapolis 500 for the third time in his career and finishing second in Detroit the following week, results have gone AWOL for Franchitti and the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
He was 14th in Texas, 19th in Milwaukee after contact, 25th in Iowa due to a mechanical problem at the start of the race and 17th in Toronto. The frustrating thing for Franchitti and the team is he's shown amazing speed, despite those results. He started on the front row of all four races and was on the pole of the last three.
"I just keep fighting. I think if you're going to quit, you're in the wrong job," he said. "I went through years of this kind of stuff happening. For it to happen for a couple of races, you just shrug it off."
In 1999, Franchitti tied Juan Pablo Montoya in the points standings for the CART championship, but had to settle for second place and no trophy due to the tie-breaker for wins in a season. He followed it up with disappointing 2000 and 2001 seasons in Champ Car where he was 13th and seventh respectively, winning just one race. Franchitti had an excuse; he broke his pelvis and suffered brain contusions in a preseason testing accident in 2000.
His last off season came in 2006 when driving for Andretti Green Racing. He was eighth in the points, missed the last race of the season because of a concussion and ended six of 13 races outside the top 10.
So Franchitti knows trying times on the track.
"You've got to deal with it and brush yourself off when it happens and move on," he said.
Fortunately for Franchitti, he's coming to a track this weekend that suits him. At Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, he's finished second in 2007, third in 2009 and second in 2011. He won the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in 2010.
He's also one victory away from being the active wins leader and moving to seventh on the all-time list with 32 behind A.J. Foyt (67), Mario Andretti (52), Michael Andretti (42), Al Unser Sr. (39), Bobby Unser (35) and Al Unser Jr. (34). Paul Tracey and Sebastien Bourdais each have 31 victories as well.
"You never know if you're going to win another race, but you've just got to try," Franchitti said. "You go out every weekend and try to win that race."
That's how a racer beats the ebb and finds his flow again.