|Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum|
That's a summary of Scotland native Dario Franchitti's Indy racing career, which started in 1997. Thursday, he announced his retirement from the great sport of auto racing. The injuries Franchitti, 40, sustained in a spectacular crash Oct. 6 near the end of the Houston Grand Prix are proving to be too great for him to continue.
He broke his back, an ankle and got a concussion. He was told by doctors that he could no longer race.
When I saw the news come across on social media, my jaw literally dropped open. Really. I guess I just figured he would have the offseason to heal and would return to the driver's seat in 2014.
Don't get me wrong, the crash in Houston in which he went airborne and connected with the catch fence, sending flying debris into the stands, was a pretty scary scene. I think everyone in the racing community was just happy to hear that he was alright. Recent tragedies like that of Dan Wheldon make us all a little more cautious when those more serious crashes occur, I think.
News all over Twitter
As hard as it may be for Franchitti to enter into a forced retirement due to injuries, at least he's still here. The outpouring on Twitter just this afternoon was impressive. I particularly liked this one, from @JaseKM:
"As a friend of Greg Moore & Dan Wheldon, Im sure Dario knows all too well that walking away on your own terms is the greatest victory of all"Franchitti Tweeted a statement along with a post-Indy 500 victory photo, explaining the situation and expressing thank-yous to many. Over the photo, he added the phrase: "As my buddy Greg Moore would say, 'See you up front.'" Moore was killed in a crash at the Fontana track in 1999.
Franchitti said he hopes to continue with IndyCar in some off-track capacity. I'd welcome that. He's become a notable name, even to those not in tune with the racing world (even if it was because he was married to Ashley Judd). I hope he can continue to promote the sport, join a broadcast team or maybe follow in the footsteps of his fellow drivers Jimmy Vasser and Michael Andretti and own a team.
Plenty of success, just not this year
Franchitti had a bit of a down year in 2013. A dominant racer on one of the elite teams, Team Target Chip Ganassi, he failed to win a race and wasn't in championship contention. The last race he won was the 2012 Indy 500, marking his third victory at the brickyard.
Franchitti not only won the Indy 500 in 2010, he also won at Mid-Ohio that year. It was a race I attended with my dad, and the first (and only, so far) time I've been to that beautiful track.
I will always have a little soft spot for those drivers who were in the CART (and later, ChampCar) series, following the IndyCar split in the mid-90s. Franchitti is one of those guys. I'll overlook 2008 when he went over to the dark side (NASCAR). He raced with the character Paul Tracy for Team KOOL Green. He's also one of the drivers who loves the four-mile road course Road America in Wisconsin. Gotta love that.
Whatever Franchitti decides to do next, after he is fully recovered, I hope he stays in racing somehow. Sure, he kind of annoyed me because he would win all the time (I like underdogs and some variety.), but I hope he can be around to increase the publicity for the sport.