What They’re Saying: Dario Franchitti Retires
Four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti retired Thursday because of injuries suffered in an Oct. 6 crash at the Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.
The motorsports community has been reacting to that news all afternoon. Here is a sampling of what they’re saying about the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner.
“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.” — Scott Dixon, three-time IndyCar champion
“You pinch yourself everyday as first-hand you are witness to the talent, ability, work ethic, and start-versus-win ratio of Dario Franchitti. The enrichment of his past and present peer lineage fortified by a true understanding of being an unselfish teammate is the standard. My expectation was that his commitment to return and win a fourth Indy 500 with Target would become a reality. Having Dario represent all of us is what’s right about Motorsports. His representation of the integrity of a true Champion is what sets him apart.” — Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director Mike Hull
“In over 100 years of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dario Franchitti stands in very exclusive company as just one of only ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times. Dario’s competitive drive, coupled with his passion for and appreciation of the history of the Indianapolis 500 made him a fan favorite at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But it is his willingness to invest time to promote our sport outside of the car, to mentor young drivers aspiring to drive at Indianapolis, and to interact with our fans that make him one of the all-time great champions and ambassadors of the Indianapolis 500. We will miss him competing every May, but we look forward to celebrating his accomplishments in the Indianapolis 500 for years to come.” — J. Douglas Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
“I was really surprised to hear the news of Dario retiring. I was expecting for him to make a strong comeback. He has always been one of the toughest and most professional drivers that I have ever raced against. I will miss racing him on track, but am very proud to have competed alongside him. In my opinion, he is one of the all-time greats.” — Ed Carpenter
“We are saddened to hear about the retirement of Dario Franchitti. Over the years he has become more than a former driver, he is truly a great friend and will forever be a part of the Andretti racing family. Dario captured his first championship and Indy 500 victory with us, and the team’s strong history is much to Dario’s credit. We’d like to congratulate him on a successful career and wish him the best as he transitions into the next stage of his life. We have no doubt that he will continue to make a great impact on the sport of racing, albeit from behind the pit wall.” — Andretti Autosport
“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. 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.” — IndyCar
“I was surprised to hear the announcement today about Dario (Franchitti) having to step away from racing. We will definitely miss him out on the track. He is certainly one of the greatest drivers in the history of IndyCar and I enjoyed racing against him over the years. I know he will continue to be a great ambassador for our sport and I’m sure Dario has a lot more to contribute to racing, it will just be in a different way than driving an IndyCar.” — Helio Castroneves, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner
“It has been said that life begins at 40, but exactly how does one follow this? When you take a moment to realize that Dario Franchitti won more races for Honda than any driver in the history of American open-wheel racing – in a fraternity which includes the likes of Alex Zanardi, Gil de Ferran, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon and reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon – you begin to come to some small understanding of what he has meant to American Honda and its racing program. Every one of Dario’s 31 Indy car victories, 33 Indy car poles, three Indianapolis 500 victories and four Indy car championships was recorded with Honda power. Still, as monumental as those achievements may be, they tell no more than half of the story. Over 16 seasons of driving for Honda, Dario was an exemplary ambassador for the brand; I daresay he made scores of friends here of which he isn’t even aware. We salute him for his many accomplishments, pay tribute to him as a true legend of this sport, and wish him every good thing imaginable as he moves into life’s next act.” — T.E. McHale, Manager, Motorsports, American Honda Motor Company Inc.