Dario Franchitti: IndyCar champion fractures spine in crash

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Dario Franchitti: IndyCar champion fractures spine in crash


Four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti has fractured his spine in a crash at the Houston Grand Prix.


The 40-year-old Scot suffered multiple fractures including a broken ankle after crashing into the track wall.


His car flipped into the air following a final lap collision with Takuma Sato and at least 13 spectators were injured as debris flew over safety fencing.


Franchitti's team owner Chip Ganassi said: "His ankle and back are a little sore. He is going to be okay."


Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Franchitti hit the back of Sato's car and was propelled into the air and against the fence. His car exploded into several pieces but did not catch fire.


Sato said: "On the last lap I caught the marbles (chunks of rubber that come off the tyres and lie on the track) and brushed the wall and lost momentum.


"A couple of cars passed me as I was offline and in turn five. I got very loose and Dario and I came together."


Race promoters said 11 spectators were treated at the track while two more were transferred to hospital for evaluation.


Franchitti's former team-mate Dan Wheldon, from England, died in a crash at the Las Vegas Indy 300 in October 2011.


Will Power, who won the Grand Prix, said the accident reminded him of the Las Vegas crash, where he and Wheldon both hit the fence.


"I just saw Dario's car and him sitting in it with a lot of damage, and yes, that's what it reminded me of," he said.


"I hate seeing that. We try to keep these cars on the ground."


Franchitti's team-mate Scott Dixon, who leads the overall standings, said: "The smells and the visuals, you have the remnants of Vegas popping into your head with you coming around the corner and you can't drive through it because there's a field of debris.


"There was nowhere near the amount of damage that we saw (in 2011), but seeing the replay was a big shock."


Source: BBC Sport

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  • 1 month later...

An absolute 200% PRO. A real loss to motorsports. He's also lucky as hell to be alive after that crash.


Dario Franchitti retires from IndyCar after accident

Four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti announced Thursday he will no longer be able to compete in auto racing because of injuries suffered in an Oct. 6 crash. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who suffered a broken back, right ankle and concussion in a crash at the Houston Grand Prix that sent his car airborne into a catchfence and back onto the temporary street circuit, also won three Indianapolis 500s in a career that started in 1997.

Franchitti, 40, and his team were looking forward to his return in 2014, when Ganassi is welcoming 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan to the stable that already includes three-time and reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon. The Scotsman ends his career tied for eighth on the all-time list with 31 career wins and 33 pole positions. Franchitti said in a statement:

"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." >

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