Dario Franchitti begins writing the next chapter of his career at Indianapolis (video)

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TV interviews can oftentimes be a dime-a-dozen, but we really were captivated by Indianapolis station WRTV’s interview of four-time IndyCar champ and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti on Thursday.

Having suffered near-fatal injuries in a crash last October at Houston that prompted his immediate retirement from open-wheel racing, Franchitti will be missing from the starting grid at Indy for only the second time in more than a decade.

But WRTV does an excellent job of telling not only the back story of Franchitti’s career, as well as the next chapter as a coach and consultant to Target Chip Ganassi Racing, particularly for his hand-picked replacement to succeed him in the No. 10 car, defending Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan.

One of the best lines in the interview is when Franchitti tries to put into context the fact that he’s at Indianapolis for the first time since 2002 (with the exception of his brief foray into NASCAR in 2008) as an observer rather than a driver.

“Fun? Yes. Bizarre? In some ways, yes. Bittersweet? Absolutely,” said Franchitti, who turns 41 on May 19.

Another intriguing part of the interview was the viciousness of his crash at Houston. The WRTV report included both professional and amateur footage of the horrendous wreck that left Franchitti with two broken vertebrae, a broken right ankle and the third major concussion of his career.

As a result, his doctors told him almost immediately that while he’d walk again, he’d never race again, the toughest pill for Franchitti to swallow as he recuperated in the hospital.

Even more so, what is particularly frightening about the Houston crash is the amnesia that Franchitti suffered.

“I didn’t know that because I don’t remember anything,” Franchitti told WRTV’s Dave Furst. “I lost five weeks, I think two weeks before and three weeks after, nothing. It’s not going to come back. I went to my buddy Albert’s wedding in Portland (a few weeks before Houston) and that’s the last thing I remember.”

Click here to check out the Franchitti video. Great job and great storytelling by Furst and the WRTV crew.

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Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.