Dario Franchitti joins six other drivers on a trio of wins – one behind the
trio of A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. Could he make it a quartet?
THE COMPANY HE kEEPS
INDY’S THREE-TIME CLUB
WINS 1928, 1933, 1936
Came close to a fourth. Out of
thirst, he began the tradition
of “500” winners drinking milk.
WINS 1937, 1939, 1940
Three times second, too. And
he saved the Speedway from
post-war plans to build houses.
remarkable at Indy. “We’ve a guy who hasn’t
reached his mid-life crisis yet, who drives
with the experience of his age, but comes to
work every day with the enthusiasm and
intent of an 18-year-old,” says Mike Hull,
Ganassi Racing’s team managing director.
“That’s a pretty tough combination to beat.”
There are times when a driver reaches
the point in their career when reflection
takes over. Accomplishments and frailties
are measured from within and measured
against the competition. Objective
observers see, measure and praise
Franchitti’s greatness quickly and without
much effort, yet he struggles to place
himself on a shelf with Rutherford, Parnelli,
Clark, the Unsers, Mears, et al. The mention
of his name in the same sentence with Jim
Clark provokes a blush and shrug, as if
Franchitti isn’t yet equipped to
acknowledge the historical arc of his
career in comparison with those of similar
accomplishments from the past. Franchitti
will wait before placing his significance next
to theirs. He’s not ready. Not yet, anyway.
“Rick Mears said if you think you
belong in the company of your
heroes, there’s something wrong”
the company of your heroes, there’s
something wrong. I’m proud of what we’ve
achieved – the three Indy wins and four
championships. Maybe the time to reflect
is when I retire. I don’t know if it’s different
eras or what. I just don’t think that way.”
His thought, our blessing.
WINS 1941, 1947, 1948
With World War II closing the
Speedway for four years,
might Rose have won more?
WINS 1974, 1976, 1980
Waited a decade for the first
win, then notched up two
more in the next six years.
(ABOVE) Three wins
equals three rings.
Should Franchitti fill up
the other two fingers,
he’d be in a five-time
class of his own – and
that’s not beyond the
realm of possibility.
(RIGHT) Last lap and
heads for the wall.
WINS 1968, 1975, 1981
F. Peirce Williams/LAT
One less than younger brother
Al. His third is remembered
for courtroom controversy.
WINS 2001, 2002, 2009
Penske’s “noughties” big gun
won as a rookie and as a
sophomore. He aims for more.