• Motor Sport

Franchitti retires following Houston crash

ESPN staff
November 15, 2013
Franchitti forced to retire

Scottish driver Dario Franchitti has announced his retirement from motor racing after taking medical advice following a horror crash in Houston last month.

The 40-year-old, who has won the iconic Indianapolis 500 three times, has been told he should not continue after his crash at the Indycar event on October 6 - which left him with two broken vertebrae, two broken ribs, a broken right ankle and a concussion.

Dario Franchitti factfile

Franchitti was injured in a terrifying smash in Houston © AP
  • 1973: Born in West Lothian, Scotland
  • 1997: Moves to USA to compete in CART series
  • 1999: Finishes second in CART behind Juan Pablo Montoya - his best finish in the series
  • 2001: Marries Hollywood actress Ashley Judd
  • 2003: Moves to Indycar Series with Team Green, but wins just three races in three years
  • 2007: Enjoys a breakthrough year, winning the rain-shortened Indianapolis 500 for first time and claiming the Series title
  • 2009: Returns to Indycar Series after season in NASCAR and starts run of three consecutive titles for Chip Ganassi
  • 2010: Claims his second Indy 500 at the 100th anniversary of the event
  • 2012: Becomes only the 10th driver in history to win Indy 500 three times - which turns out to be his last win in the Series
  • 2013: Injured in terrifying crash in October and retires the following month on medical advice

Franchitti needed two ankle surgeries after the crash, which happened after he was sent flying dramatically into a fence after making contact with former F1 driver Takuma Sato.

It was was a timely reminder of the dangers of a sport which claimed the life of his close friend Dan Wheldon in 2011, and Franchitti admits doctors had the final say in his decision.

In a statement released on Twitter, he said: "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.

"I was 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.

"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."

The Scot has won the Indycar Series four times, including three times consecutively between 2009 and 2011 after an unsuccessful stint in NASCAR, putting him second in the all-time list behind AJ Foyt, while his 31 series victories place him eighth all-time.

Owner Chip Ganassi, who owns the team Franchitti enjoyed that success with after his return, was in no doubts about the incredible legacy the Scot leaves behind.

He said: "Simply put, Dario is a motorsports legend and will be sorely missed on the race track by everyone in the paddock and in the stands.

"His contributions to the sport of motor racing are too many to list but I can tell you that they go way beyond what he has done on the track."

Franchitti (centre) celebrates one of his 31 IndyCar Series wins © Getty Images

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