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Third fine with Franchitti.

They say familiarity breeds contempt, but don't tell that to Dario Franchitti, as the 35-year old Scot is happy to be starting third in the Indianapolis 500.

While great attention is heaped on the polewinner for the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing', Franchitti was quite content to find himself in the same position he started from in 2007, when he won 500 for Andretti Green Racing.

"It's very satisfying to be on the front row here," he said, having secured a spot alongside Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe on Saturday's Pole Day, "It is a great feeling, especially on Race Day, to get in the car and have a clear view in front of you. This will be the third time I started outside Row 1, and it's worked out pretty well every time."

Franchitti started third two years ago - when Castroneves also had the pole - and led 34 laps en route to becoming the first Scot to win the Indianapolis 500 since his hero Jim Clark in 1965. Franchitti went on to win the IndyCar Series championship that same year, before deciding to pursue a career in NASCAR, foregoing the opportunity to defend his Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series titles in 2008.

"I made the decision in August or September of '07 not to come back because of all the reasons I've talked about before about looking for new challenges," Franchitti said, "Didn't make it any easier, and I tried to kid myself I wasn't missing it. I'm one of those people I close down outside distractions. I was just focused on trying to be successful in NASCAR. Then I broke my ankle and kind of came up for air."

Franchitti followed the Month of May activities closely in 2008, talking often with former AGR team-mate, and close friend, Tony Kanaan, and it slowly dawned on him what he was missing.

"It's probably more an emotional thing than anything as to not being here - Race Day, especially, was tough," Franchitti said, "That got my thought process started thinking about coming back to the IndyCar Series."

Several months later, when sponsorship fell apart on his NASCAR ride, Target Chip Ganassi Racing team owner Chip Ganassi asked Franchitti to consider a return to the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.

"I'd like to have been successful," Franchitti said of his NASCAR jaunt, "but, for all the reasons we know, losing the sponsorship and things, it didn't work out. So I'm pretty lucky that I went to go over there, had the chance to try that as sort of an experiment, and then get to come back here and jump straight into the best seat in the paddock.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Indy Racing League. 9 May 2009. Pole Day. Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapois, Indiana. Dario Franchitti.
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Scott Dixon Indy 500
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying
Fernando Alonso Indy 500 qualifying
Ed Carpenter Indy 500 qualifying
Pippa Mann Indy 500 qualifying
Max Chilton IndyCar 2017
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Max Chilton, Chip Ganassi, [Credit: Max Chilton PR]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates capturing the pole with the fastest lap Saturday, March 12, 2016 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Penske Chevrolet`s were the fastest in qualifying and Chevrolet had the five fastest cars. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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