Dario Franchitti Announces Retirement After Injuries Sustained in Crash

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Dario Franchitti Announces Retirement After Injuries Sustained in Crash
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Prolific IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti announced his retirement on Thursday after sustaining two fractured vertebrae, a broken ankle and a concussion in an Oct. 6 crash at the Houston Grand Prix.

UPDATE: Thursday, Nov. 14, at 9 p.m. ET

Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer provides this statement from Franchitti:



“Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority. I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I'd also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.

One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing. They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.

Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it's really tough to think that the driving side is now over. I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.

I'd like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I'd also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn't thank all my fans around the world. I can't thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.

I'll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I've forged in the sport will last a lifetime.

Hopefully in time, I'll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I'll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I've made over the years at Target.

As my buddy Greg Moore would say, ‘See you up front ’”

---End of Update---

Team Target reported the news, and Franchitti shared his own thoughts:

NASCAR on ESPN's official Twitter wished Franchitti well moving forward:

The AP's Jenna Fryer highlighted a key point in Franchitti's announcement, which intimated that continuing to race would jeopardize his long-term health:

Dave Lewandowski of IndyCar.com provided a full version of what Franchitti had to say about his condition in a statement, including doctors' advice for him to stop racing for good. Here is an excerpt:

Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority...I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I'd also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.

One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post-accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing.  They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.

Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it's really tough to think that the driving side is now over.  I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.

I'd like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride.  I'd also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008.  I would be remiss if I didn't thank all my fans around the world.  I can't thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.

Fellow IndyCar driver Graham Rahal expressed respect and gratitude for Franchitti when he got wind of his retirement:

Franchitti was a four-time IndyCar Series champion driver, first winning in 2007 and winning the final three consecutively from 2009 to 2011.   

He won the circuit's most prestigious event, the Indianapolis 500, three times and as recently as last year, which marked his only victory in his last two seasons.   

The 40-year-old veteran was a member of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team and clearly had ambitions to continue racing even after the disastrous wreck that also injured 13 fans.

Franchitti's 31 combined Champ Car and IndyCar victories are eighth all time, and his 33 combined poles are sixth.

It is a particularly gutting end to a magnificent career, because Franchitti's accident occurred in the penultimate race of the 2013 season. He wound up finishing 10th in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings.  

The enthusiasm Franchitti possesses for racing is evident in the fact that he previously competed in stints on the NASCAR Truck Series, the Nationwide Series and even the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2008.

However, it became evident in that season that he was best suited for IndyCar, and he dominated from the outset of the Series’ inauguration in 2009 after previous success in the CART/Champ Car, where he finished runner-up in 1999.

Although Franchitti seemed to have plenty of racing left in him before the crash in Houston, he still retires from open-wheel racing as one of its most accomplished drivers in the modern era.

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