Franchitti leaving hospital (Photo via @TCGRTeams Twitter)

Franchitti released from hospital; en route back to Indy

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Dario Franchitti has been released from Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston this afternoon. The driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda will be en route back to Indianapolis for further evaluation and await a second surgery to his right ankle, per a team report.

“I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and I’m thankful to have such a great family and such wonderful friends and fans,” Franchitti said in a team statement. “Thanks to everyone at the hospital and the track who took such good care of me during my stay in Houston. I look forward to watching Scott, Alex and the Target team next weekend on television, and will be pulling for them as they go for another championship.”

Franchitti’s teammate Scott Dixon said he had been in contact with him since Franchitti’s accident Sunday in Houston.

“He’s pretty beat up; he should be back in Indy later today,” Dixon said in a teleconference Thursday. “I know he has control of his phone again, so that’s a good sign.”

Dixon added that the Dallara DW12 performed as best it could have given the circumstances.

“I know a lot of the areas worked on were the rear bumpers from front and back,” Dixon said. “He was lucky but the car did exactly what it should have. It did its job.”

With Franchitti out of action, and at this stage unlikely to travel to Fontana in person, the team has called on Alex Tagliani as a replacement.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)