Dario Franchitti, one of American open-wheel racing’s best over the last two decades, will make his 250th career start at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Sun., 4 pm ET, NBC Sports Network).
The 39-year-old Scotsman has amassed a striking number of accolades over the years that include three Indianapolis 500 wins and four IZOD IndyCar Series championships. He has also successfully continued the impressive legacy of Scottish motorsport, following in the footsteps of such legends like his hero, 1965 Indy 500 winner Jim Clark, and three-time Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart.
“It’s amazing to think of all those years doing this and the races I’ve got to win, people I’ve gotten to work with, the teammates I’ve had, the teams I’ve gotten to drive with, the friends I’ve made,” Franchitti told IndyCar.com. “This has been my life for a long time and I hope it continues for a long time, because it was my dream to do this and I’m still here.”
However, Franchitti will reach his milestone while trying to climb out of a deep, early-season hole for the second consecutive campaign. Still, there’s certainly hope for a turnaround to happen at Long Beach, where Franchitti has one win (2009) and four podiums (two in CART, two in IRL/IndyCar) to his credit.
“Long Beach was [my] first [win] for [Target Chip Ganassi Racing], so that was extra special,” he said. “Long Beach has a lot of history and it’s a race I’ve done well at and had some shockers as well.
“I can’t think of another street course that has that kind of history. It is a huge event, so it would be nice to win that one.”
It’s known as “Carburetor Day” – or in its simplest term, just “Carb Day.”
But the final day of on-track action Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 is so much more.
Especially on NBCSN, which will have wall-to-wall live coverage starting Friday morning.
Here’s how Friday’s schedule breaks down:
- 11 a.m. ET: Carb Day kicks off with the final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500. The session will last one hour in length.
- 12 p.m. ET: We’re going racing! Strap in for coverage of the Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 on the famous Brickyard.
- 1:30 p.m. ET: We’ll have coverage of the annual IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge. Which teams have the best – and most importantly, fastest and accurate – pit crews? Team Penske has won 10 of the last 12, including the last two years edging out Schmidt Peterson Motorsports each time. Who can potentially beat them this year?
- 3:30 p.m. ET: We’ll have our annual NASCAR America Motorsports Special. Among segments included in the 90-minute show will be:1) 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi will discuss how it used to upset him when people suggested he “backed into” his big win and how he didn’t really feel vindicated until he qualified on the front row for last year’s race.
2) Defending 500 winner Takuma Sato, the first Japanese driver to ever win at Indianapolis, discusses the impact of his big win personally and professionally, particularly back in his native land.
3) An essay by Robin Miller on Stefan Wilson giving up his ride last year to allow Fernando Alonso to race for Andretti Autosport.
4) An essay by Nate Ryan on Danica Patrick as she looks to compete in her final Indy 500 before retiring from professional racing.