Dario Franchitti heading for 250th career start

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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.”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.