Franchitti in Player’s Tribune: “It’s nice I can chill out a bit more”

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Dario Franchitti remains one of IndyCar’s biggest names and greatest ambassadors, even though he isn’t behind the wheel anymore.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 and four-time Verizon IndyCar Series series champion wrote an article earlier this year describing his home life in Scotland now that he’s out of the cockpit.

Just this week, he’s put together a wonderful read for Derek Jeter’s “The Player’s Tribune” that focuses more on his specific new life in racing: fully outside the cockpit, now working in the mentoring and advising role to Chip Ganassi Racing’s young drivers of Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball and, to a lesser extent, Sebastian Saavedra.

Once Franchitti goes through the opening paragraphs describing what he remembers – or largely doesn’t, given he was concussed – from his 2013 career-ending accident at Houston, he then dovetails into his new role with Ganassi which keeps him actively involved at the tracks, without the worries of driving anymore.

“I was probably going to stop racing IndyCars in the next couple of years anyway because of my age — I was 40 at the time of the accident — so my career didn’t get cut too short. That’s the way I look at it,” Franchitti wrote.

“It was the perfect way for me to transition. For that first year out of the car, I got to just hang around the team and do whatever I could to help make the drivers better and the cars go faster.”

Franchitti was in New Orleans this year, in the rainy morass that defined a challenging first-year event which both the event promoters and the Verizon IndyCar Series worked to make the best of.

These two paragraphs, describing how he went through a morning at New Orleans and then realized he didn’t have to drive, best make the point about how much he’s enjoying his new life:

The question I get the most from either fans or the media is whether or not I miss racing, and it’s a bit complicated. Sometimes I’ll be at the track and I’ll really miss driving a car, but only occasionally. There have really only been a couple of times when I’ve been at the track and I really wished I was driving.

When I was racing, I loved what I did, but now that it’s over, it’s nice that I can chill out a bit more. There’s a level of intensity that goes along with being a driver and there’s an attitude of almost going to war when you’re doing it. Since I stopped, my mindset has changed and I don’t have that attitude or level of intensity anymore. I like this more relaxed state of mind I’m in.

It’s a great read from start-to-finish, and is linked here.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.