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.

INDYCAR: Josef Newgarden quickest again in second practice at Road America

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Josef Newgarden continued to be quickest around Road America, first this morning and again this afternoon in the second practice session for Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix.

Newgarden had a best lap in the second session of 1:42.6279, followed by rookie Robert Wickens (1:42.9025), Sebastien Bourdais (1:43.0020), Will Power (1:43.0545) and teammate Simon Pagenaud (1:43.1599).

Sixth through 10th were Graham Rahal (1:43.1995), Scott Dixon (1:43.4212), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:43.4755), Takuma Sato (1:43.5410) and Marco Andretti (1:43.6221).

One significant incident of note occurred during the session when Alfonso Celis Jr., making his IndyCar debut this weekend, lost control coming out of a turn and slammed into the tire wall, causing damage to his suspension.

The third and final practice session of the weekend will be Saturday at Noon E.T., followed by qualifying later in the afternoon.

The race will take the green flag on Sunday shortly after 1 p.m. ET. It will be televised live on NBCSN.

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