News & Multimedia

Franchitti's Legacy Keeps Growing

It must be difficult for star athletes in their prime to talk about what their legacy might be in the future. After all, they are still intensely focused on the present.

Take Dario Franchitti, for example. By winning the Indianapolis 500 for the third time on Sunday, the Scotsman became one of just ten men who have won the ‘500’ three or more times.

The Indianapolis victory was Franchitti’s 31st Indy car race win since 1998, the most among active drivers, and the six gentlemen above him on the career wins list are all named Foyt, Andretti or Unser. That’s pretty heady company.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a humbled Franchitti is hesitant to make comparisons.

“I guess the time to look back is when I’m retired,” he said, while addressing a small group of media after the traditional winner’s photo session the day after the ‘500.’ “I’m very proud of the achievements, whether it’s Indy wins, championships, every one of the race wins. Sometimes I look back, but generally I’m trying to look forward.

“Today I was lucky enough to be in the green room before driver introductions, and TK [Tony Kanaan] and I were sitting together in a quiet corner when Parnelli [Jones], [Bobby] Unser and [Johnny] Rutherford came up. I thought, ‘This is cool.’ TK and I were getting our pictures taken…we were like a couple of kids because we were with the legends of the sport.”

Franchitti’s appreciation for the history of the Indianapolis 500 and all of motorsports makes him a favorite among racing purists. Dario often cites fellow Scotsman (and Indy 500 winner) Jim Clark as his hero and inspiration, and he counts three-time Formula 1 world champion Jackie Stewart as a mentor.

His respect for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway itself and the tradition of the ‘500’ has also grown, after three wins in nine attempts.

“When you come here as a rookie, you’re like, ‘Yeah, yeah, whatever,’” he related. “And the more you do this race, the more it means to you…and the worse it gets. The more the stress. The more the emotion. So it’s kind of in reverse. It’s not like with experience you sort of calm down. You’ve almost got to work harder to focus and control your emotions, because of everything that it means.”

Franchitti’s closest friends say that his amazing success since returning to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2009 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing hasn’t changed him.

Since ’09, Franchitti has scored 13 of his 31 career wins, including two Indianapolis 500s. He’s also swept the last three IndyCar Series championships.

“I think he’s the same old Dario, but he may have a few more accolades than some of us,” said Scott Dixon, Franchitti’s TCGR teammate since ’09 and the runner-up in Sunday’s race.

“It’s the same Dario that has won zero championships, zero 500s till today,” added Kanaan. “He’s a guy that appreciates life, friends and family. Thank God nothing got on top of his head about all the winnings he’s had. That’s why we’re good friends.”

Winning a third Indianapolis 500 puts Franchitti in a league with Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Louis Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, and Helio Castroneves, who is the only other active three-time winner.

Of course it also means that he’s already answering questions about when he’s going to join Rick Mears, Al Unser and AJ Foyt as a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner.

“Let’s just enjoy this third one,” he replied with a smile.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Franchitti's Legacy Keeps Growing
 
Franchitti's Legacy Keeps Growing
It must be difficult for star athletes in their prime to talk about what their legacy might be in the future. After all, they are still intensely focused on the present.
Read More
Related Media
Marc Marquez
 
Marquez Finishes Ahead of Riders After Second Sepang Test
Repsol Honda will be delighted by the way Marquez, whose first day was ruined by a brake problem, responded to dominate the last two days. For the Spaniard, his main focus was on evaluating different chassis types, and tweaking the set ups on each to find the one he prefers.
Read More
Valentino Rossi
 
Rossi Eager To Challenge Marquez's MotoGP Supremacy in 2015
The last two MotoGP seasons have ended with two major questions looming over the sport: Who could provide serious competition in the future for reigning World Champion Marc Marquez, and could the individual who provides the strongest challenge to him this season be the greatest rider the sport has ever known?
Read More
Nicky Hayden
 
Hayden Looks Forward To Enjoying Riding Again in 2015
The American DRIVE M7 Aspar rider is one of the most experienced men in MotoGP and a throwback to the old-school hard men that inspired him.
Read More
Jack Miller
 
Miller, Vinales Among New Faces Set To Join MotoGP in 2015
Vinales and Miller will be on the grid at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 9, 2015, for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, battling defending race champion and two-time defending World Champion Marc Marquez, of the Repsol Honda team.
Read More
CICOA at IMS
 
Carpenter Helps Celebrate CICOA Meals & More Program's 18 Millionth Meal
The CICOA Meals & More program works to combat that, providing 2,000 meals every weekday in clients’ homes and at 27 Central Indiana meal sites. And on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, CICOA served its 18 millionth meal to a senior guest.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 480
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Get all the details from the 2015 #Indy500 ticket unveiling here: http://t.co/kGZZgpYfJK @RyanHunterReay
about 11 hours ago