One month after a horrific accident left him with a broken back, broken right ankle and a severe concussion, IndyCar Driver Dario Franchitti has announced that he will no longer be behind the wheel of his No.10 Target machine.Aug 31, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti signs an autograph for a fan at the Grand Prix of Baltimore through the streets of Baltimore. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY
Franchitti released a statement this afternoon regarding his decision:
“Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority. I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I’d also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.
“One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing. They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.
“Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it’s really tough to think that the driving side is now over. I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.
“I’d like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I’d also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all my fans around the world. I can’t thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.
I’ll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I’ve forged in the sport will last a lifetime.
Hopefully in time, I’ll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I’ll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I’ve made over the years at Target.”
Franchitti ends his career tied in eighth for all-time wins in the IndyCar Series with 31 career wins and 33 career poles.
The three-time Indy 500 winner had an immediate outpouring of support from fellow drivers after his announcement.
“Sad, indeed,” Kanaan said via text message to USA Today. “Dario was the key person on the process of getting me to the Ganassi team and I was counting the days to be his teammate again.
“Dario is a great person, a superb driver and a motorsports legend. But most importantly, he is my friend, and as much as it hurts not seeing him compete with me in IndyCar, I’m very happy that he got out of that accident and is still with us.”
Teammate Scott Dixon also made a comment regarding Franchitti’s unexpected retirement saying: “Dario is a true legend in the sport. More importantly, I can call him a best friend. There are very few people that have achieved as much in auto racing and knowing Dario, he won’t go far as IndyCar racing is in his blood and I am sure he will stay involved somehow.”
IndyCar will feel the loss of Franchitti’s presence at the track in 2014 but the legacy he has left behind will be present for years to come. “As a four-time IndyCar Series champion and a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Dario Franchitti has etched his name among the greats of this sport, and his legacy will continue to influence future generations of competitors,” a spokesperson for IndyCar said Thursday. “His passion was born, in part, from a deep love for the sport and a reverence to its history, and Dario carries that heritage everywhere he travels and shares it with everyone he meets. Dario’s leadership on and off the track has helped shape IndyCar, and we look forward to him remaining involved in the sport he loves.”
Franchitti has already underwent two surgeries to repair his ankle and is at home in Scotland recovering.
SOURCES: USA Today.com