Most drivers would be ecstatic after winning the Indy 500. Dario Franchitti, who won for the third time on Sunday, had a special reason to celebrate.
After pulling into the victory's circle and after drinking his milk, Franchitti dedicated his win to the late Dan Wheldon (via WISH-TV):
An emotional Dario Franchitti dedicates his win to Indianapolis and Dan Wheldon. #indy500— WISH-TV (@WISH_TV) May 27, 2012
Wheldon, a good friend to Franchitti, passed away in October of 2011 from injuries sustained in a collision at the IndyCar World Championship.
David Alter gives us another heart-warming quote from Franchitti:
Dario Franchitti a class act in victory "To have my head on the trophy on both sides of Dan Wheldon, it's more important than anything."— David Alter (@DavidAlter590) May 27, 2012
Remember, this is the Indy 500, easily the biggest event in any car racer's career, and Franchitti is dedicating the win to Wheldon and completely downplaying the significance of his third win—a feat only nine other drivers have accomplished.
You may not like Franchitti's style of racing on the track, but you can't deny how he handled the win with pure class. He handled it like everyone could only hope to do if they were in the same position.
Of course, it was only appropriate that the three main contenders (with the exception of Takuma Sato) at the end of the race)—Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan—were the best of friends of Wheldon.
It became clear that no matter who came out on top, it would be one of Wheldon's friends, and rightfully so.
For Wheldon's victory in 2011 to be sandwiched by Franchitti in 2010 and now '12 is without a doubt something special.
There was much sadness following Wheldon's all-too-soon death last year, but this is the type of heartwarming story you sincerely enjoy seeing in sports.
For at least a day, Dario Franchitti's win shined a bright light on a tragic event.