Dario Franchitti was born May 19, 1973 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Currently, he lives in Nashville Tennessee with wife Ashley Judd.
Franchitti first to rose to prominence when he won the Karting Scottish Junior Championship in 1984. He then went on to win the British Junior Championship in 1985 and 1986, and then the Scottish Senior title in 1988. He progressed from there to Formula Vauxhall Lotus, where he won a championship in 1993, and then to British Formula Three in 1994. He was offered a gig driving for Mercedes in the International Tour Car Championship, which he did for two seasons before the ITC folded and Mercedes decided to place him with Hogan Racing in the PPG/CART Champ Car World Series in 1997.
Franchitti spent one season with Hogan, never finishing higher than ninth, and moved to Team Green for the 1998 season. The team change made an immediate difference, as Franchitti went from an also-ran to a championship contender, winning three races, five pole positions, and finishing third in the points standings. He was series runner-up the following season, his last in CART.
The Andretti Green team moved to the Indy Racing League for the 2003 season, but Franchitti was unable to participate for much of the season because of a back injury sustained in a motorcycle accident. He returned the following season, and scored his first Izod IndyCar Series victory at the Milwaukee Mile.
After winning the 2007 points championship, Franchitti left open-wheel racing to take a stab at driving in NASCAR. Joining Chip Ganassi’s team, Franchitti never finished higher than 22nd in an event, and failed to qualify for several races. The team was disbanded midway through the year because of lack of funding, and Franchitti returned to IndyCar racing in 2009. Teaming with Scott Dixon on the Target Chip Ganassi team, he won five races (Long Beach, Iowa, Toronto, Sonoma, and Homestead) and five pole positions, on his way to securing his second championship.
Franchitti also has an extensive background in Sports Car Racing, teaming up with Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas to win the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona.
In six Indianapolis 500 starts, Franchitti has four Top-10 finishes. His first two trips to Indianapolis Motor Speedway resulted in disappointing 19th and 14th place finishes, but since then he’s never been lower than 7th, and won the 2007 edition of the race, albeit under rain-shortened conditions.
With dark skies rapidly approaching Speedway, Indiana, and 37 laps left in the lead, the field came around for what was expected to be the final restart before the rains fell and washed the event out. Franchitti held a lead over race winners Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, and Sam Hornish, and the final few laps promised to be filled with excitement. Unfortunately, on the restart Marco Andretti and Dan Wheldon tangled on the backstretch, and before crews could get the track cleared, the rain had started. Unfortunate for the fans anyway. Not for Franchitti, who has a great chance to build to his already impressive Indy resume in 2010.
|Dario Franchitti celebrates his 2007 Indy 500 victory|
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