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…
- 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.