IndyCar »

Title win 'sinking in' for Dario

Dario Franchitti won his fourth IZOD IndyCar Series Championship in 2011, but it was overshadowed by tragedy at Las Vegas. Only now is the series success sinking in, he says.
Going into the final round of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series championship, all the attention had been on the showdown between Dario Franchitti and Will Power for the title.

But after the tragic accident on lap 11 that claimed the life of Franchitti's close friend Dan Wheldon, the championship felt insignificant and left in the background of far more important concerns. Only now, over two months after the dreadful events in Las Vegas, is the championship achievement sinking in for Dario.

"It's not been something I thought about that much. It did sink in. It's bizarre," he said. "It's not been something I thought about that much ... I think I was driving somewhere when it hit me.

"Last year it was in the middle of the outback when I was on a motorbike," he said, but added that whereas 2010 "was kind of really joy", his feelings this year were very different because of losing Dan.

"This year wasn't that," he said. "Team Target, Chip, everybody, we're very proud of this championship. For me, I don't feel much like celebrating it because of [Dan], and I said that before - but it's something, again, I'm very proud of, of what the team and I were able to do."

Understandably still raw about the death of his friend, Dario felt that he had little to add to what had already been said about the tragic events that ended the season finale prematurely and which had rendered the championship battle all but irrelevant.

"What happened with Dan was absolutely tragic. We miss him. Really, I don't know what else to say apart from that," he said.

Franchitti added that he felt Wheldon's loss almost more now than at any time before, because his friend wasn't going around with him to all the end of year awards ceremonies as he should have been.

"[The] last couple weeks, because of being at all the awards things back here in the UK - if he was here, he would have been here with me, he would have been celebrating his Indy 500, and I would have been celebrating the championship," explained Dario. "We would have had a good time. He would have been getting the plaudits he richly deserved. Whether it was his family or his dad, Clive, getting these awards on his behalf, it was pretty tough.

"I suppose the one really bright thing that came out of it all was we did a go-kart race in Milton Keynes. An old teammate of mine organized this race. We had a great time and raised a bunch of money for Alzheimer's in Dan's memory. That was great. He would have loved that.

"He was obviously a great friend and a terrific competitor," he concluded. "I think I speak for the whole racing community, especially the IndyCar family, that we'll all really, really miss him."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dario Franchitti on pit road at Kentucky Speedway [Photo credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Will Power and Dario Franchitti pose together on the road course track at Motegi. [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti watching intently from the pits during Friday practice on the streets of Baltimore - September 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Either Dario Franchitti or Will Power will win the IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship Trophy (formerly known as the Astor Challenge Cup) in 2011. [Picture Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Britain`s two double Indy 500 champions Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon pose at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrating the centennial of the Indianapolis 500. [Picture credit: Steve Shunck for IndyCar Media]
All-star cast at Dan Wheldon memorial kart event
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team Owner and Nine-Time INDYCAR Champion Chip Ganassi and Four-Time INDYCAR Champion Dario Franchitti with the IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship Trophy. [Photo credit: LAT Photography]
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Conor Daly leads at the 2014 Dan Wheldon Memorial kart event   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power accepts the Verizon P1 Award from Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead after winning the pole for Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
James Davison chats with Dario Franchitti on pit lane prior to practice for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Johnny Rutherford speaks with official pace car driver Dario Franchitti (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves in action (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Sage Karam and Helio Castroneves (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth at IMS (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud on track with Carlos Huertas (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra`s rebuilt #17 KV AFS Racing car makes its return to the track in practice on Tuesday at Indianapolis. (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.