jimmy clark at the indy 500
I honestly struggle to come up with a proper
answer regarding why Jim Clark is my No. 1
hero. Jackie Stewart is a hero, too – as a
driver, he was one of the best ever, and as
a person, a mentor and a friend, he has
no competition in that regard. But I’d say
he’s also partly responsible for why Jim
will always be my man, and why there’s a
Jim Clark room in my house.
Jackie is someone I know, someone I get
to see, and he’s always there at the end of a
phone, and long may that continue. Whereas
Jim died five years before I was born. He
comes from a time when there weren’t a lot
of TV cameras around, and there aren’t loads
of TV interviews with him, so there’s more
of a fascination and, I guess, a mystique.
It started off because he was a Scottish
IN JIMMy’S WHEEL TRACKS
driver, and everyone I grew up around
would speak of him in these awed tones –
including Jackie. Now, Jackie’s a guy who’s
not intimidated by anyone, very sure of
himself, but when he talks of Jim, there’s
always a kind of awe in his voice. So if
Jackie Stewart’s impressed…
And the more I delved into it, read about
Jimmy and learned about him from people
who knew him, the more I realized that,
‘Wow, damn, he really did live up to the
hype that’s been built up over all these
years.’ And so my fascination grew.
When I first came to America, the political
situation in the sport meant it didn’t cross
my mind I’d ever race in the Indy 500. And
when I first did, in 2002, it seemed such a
stretch to imagine myself ever winning it!
I missed the race in ’03 because I had a
broken back, so I was hanging around and
hearing from fans about how much they
loved Jim. Then, in ’04, I qualified on the
front row, and in ’05 – the 40th anniversary
of Jim’s win – Jackie was there and I really
wanted to win that one. My brother Marino
had even put a little sticker on the back of my
helmet with a Scottish flag and “JC ’ 65” on it.
But Dan Wheldon won – did a brilliant job –
and I wondered if it’d ever happen for me.
Then when it did in 2007, it really dawned
on me that I’d finally done it. That first win
– and I know this might sound weird –
meant more to me that I’d finally achieved
something that my ultimate hero had done...
Three-time Indy 500 champ Dario Franchitti’s respect for Clark makes winning at the Brickyard extra special.
fRAnChitti on ClARk
(MAin) the 2011 Goodwood festival
of Speed wasn’t a place for Dario
franchitti to push the lotus 38, but
he did revel in the sound of its
four-cam ford engine. in ’ 10, he also
drove the car at the Brickyard.
Franchitti has had the privilege of driving
Jimmy Clark’s Indy-winning Lotus 38 at
Goodwood in 2011 and ’ 13 (ABOVE).
The morning after
winning his first
Indy 500 in 2007,
a reflective Dario
Franchitti lingers on
the likeness of his
hero, 1965 winner
Jimmy Clark, on the