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Dario downcast after Indy flop

Dario Franchitti was struggling to find any silver lining in this year's 2011 Indy 500, after a strategy decision to conserve fuel seemed to have cost him a chance of a win.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti was still struggling to come to terms with how this year's race fell apart for him in the final stages.

"Today I stayed in the bus all day, ruminating over [the race]," said the 2007 and 2010 Indy 500 champion.

Having looked set to win a third time for much of the centennial race after appearing to overturn an early advantage held by his Ganassi team mate Scott Dixon, Franchitti was unable to make his final fuel load stretch and ended up falling well off the pace, finally slumping to a very disappointing 12th place by the chequered flag.

"This is such an important race, and if you look - I mean, we led over half the race, between Dix and I, and we tried splitting strategies and we both ended up not getting it," he told reporters at this week's Victory Banquet that he was attending with his wife, film star Ashley Judd.

"I thought our Target car was as good as anything out there today. The engineers made good calls fixing the balance of the car. The mechanics, the pit stops were fantastic. And we're leading the race, and we came in to do that stop. But I don't know. I don't understand right now. They're going to have to explain that one to me.

"You know, I had an interesting conversation with [AJ] Foyt before the race, we were just sitting in the green room, him and I in the corner, and he said, you know - he was telling me how he'd won it four times, but he probably should have won it more and some of the four he'd won, he shouldn't have won those ... When it's your day, it's your day," he continued. "And when it's not your day there's nothing you can do about it. And it was so - that struck me about lap 199."

Franchitti did at least get to join up with the winners' celebrations on Sunday night after Dan Wheldon's famous last-corner victory in the Bryan Herta Autosport underdog car.

"I had fun last night," he said, his spirits briefly lifting. "We went out and we celebrated with Dan and Bryan, and all my Scottish buddies, and Dix and those boys, so we had fun last night."

There's a strong bond between the "Four Musketeers" - Franchitti, Wheldon, Herta and Tony Kanaan - forged back in 2005 when they were the driver line-up for the the then-dominant Andretti-Green Racing team. "We had a lot of fun together on and off the track," agreed Bryan Herta of those days. "We had an opportunity, the four of us got together for dinner about a week ago. Literally we laughed till our sides hurt just reminiscing about those times. So there was a bond that formed between the four of us during those years that will never change."

Being able to share in his friends' success on Sunday night was a help, but it only goes so far in getting Dario through the disappointment of the 2011 Indy 500.




Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League.  July 31-Aug. !, 2009. Kentucky Speedway. Sparta, Ky. USA. Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.
19-20 June, 2010, Newton, iowa USA #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing`s Dario Franchitti.
Dario Franchitti looks on form the pit lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Pit lane (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon spins during practice (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin slides into his machine prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The pylon at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin sits in his machine prior to practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin receives a handshake before his qualification attempt for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Catherine Reid - Unregistered

June 10, 2011 7:56 AM

Dario, my heart goes out to you as I truly believed you would win. I was chatting to my Mum in Ayrshire, Scotland throughout the entire race from Colorado and basically told her you had bagged it. There was no way youd be overtaken. I went to get a soda from the fridge, came back to the couch ..and was like what the hell...it was actually what the,,,,,just happened. My heart hit the foor. Never mind. you are our Boy, our Hero. Scotland loves you. For ever!

Catherine Reid - Unregistered

June 10, 2011 7:56 AM

Dario, my heart goes out to you as I truly believed you would win. I was chatting to my Mum in Ayrshire, Scotland throughout the entire race from Colorado and basically told her you had bagged it. There was no way youd be overtaken. I went to get a soda from the fridge, came back to the couch ..and was like what the hell...it was actually what the,,,,,just happened. My heart hit the foor. Never mind. you are our Boy, our Hero. Scotland loves you. For ever!



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