The fight for the 2009 IndyCar Series title saw the points lead change hands no fewer than 15 times - with eventual champion Dario Franchitti admitting it will be a tight fight again in 2010.

The Scot eventually beat Ganassi team-mate Scott Dixon and Penske's Ryan Briscoe to the crown in the final round of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with Franchitti lifting the title by just eleven points.

His second series championship in three years was forged by five victories, eight other top-five finishes that piled up points and 11 bonus points from pole starts and race laps led.

"I didn't think I'd win five races and a championship in my first year back (after the shortened by economics foray into stock cars)," Franchitti said. "Scott is a better driver than he was in '07 and Ryan came in every single week, as well as other people who made appearances and won races. It just seemed that Scott and Ryan every week were tough competition."

Franchitti expects Dixon to again contend for the title during the 17-race schedule along with the Team Penske triumvirate of Briscoe, Helio Castroneves and Will Power, and Tony Kanaan of Andretti Autosport. He also expects a couple of dark horses to emerge, such as Justin Wilson of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and former Formula One driver Takuma Sato.

"(At dinner recently with team members) I said this year is going to be harder than last year and we all kind of nodded," Franchitti said. "We know the competition is going to be tougher. There will be the usual suspects that were in the title fight last year and I think you'll add a couple more. We'll have to work harder if we want to come home with another championship.

"To even challenge for another championship we'll have to work even harder. If we do our best, we'll see if we can repeat. Right now, we're just going to with the same attitude as last year, which was let's do our best and hopefully that will put us in contention."


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