IndyCar Driver Review: Dario Franchitti

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

In 10th place, the legend who now is forced to retire due to injury, Dario Franchitti…


Dario Franchitti

  • Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
  • 2012: 7th Place, 1 Wins, 3 Poles
  • 2013: 10th Place, Best Finish 3rd, 4 Poles, 4 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 64 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 10.9 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: Franchitti raised the bar so high upon his return to IndyCar, with three straight championships won from 2009 through 2011, that it simply wasn’t sustainable. And although 2012 and 2013 haven’t been bad years by most standards, they’ve been tough to swallow for Franchitti. The pace was still there but the results just weren’t. It seems weird to say but at no point this year did Franchitti look like a dominant race winner. Case in point: Dixon led 239 laps this season, with Kimball 80 and Franchitti just 64. He never fully got comfortable with the new Dallara DW12 chassis and his awful accident at Houston occurred in what was ultimately his final race. It’s beyond disappointing that he won’t get the chance to return to title contending or taking a shot at a fourth ‘500, but we’ll always have the memories.

Estrada says: With his injuries sustained last month at Houston too severe to continue racing, Franchitti has called it a career. It was surely a tough decision to make for the Scotsman, but it was the right one. In what proved to be his final year of competition, Franchitti was put in a big hole from the beginning with back-to-back DNFs at St. Pete and Barber. He persevered though, and from Long Beach in April to Sonoma in August (a 13-race span), he rattled off four podiums and 11 Top-10 finishes. Still, he was unable to fully recapture that commanding form he had during his championship years – and now, sadly, we’ll never know if he could have done that.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.