ryan and dario
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Phil abbott/La T
Ryan, what have you learned from Dario
through the years? Has he influenced you?
DARIO FRANCHITTI Here we go...
“When I was a young boy…”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY Actually, that is
where it starts! I can’t really say young
boy, but I remember Dario starring in a
rainy CART race in Houston in ’ 98. I was
in Skip Barber, and I definitely looked up
to him back then. He put his stamp on the
series pretty early on. Since then, his
career is something that you’d like to
model your own after. I have a lot to say
about it, but I don’t want to blow too
much wind up his skirt with him sitting
right here next to me.
DARIO I appreciate that.
RYAN But I call him “The Doctor” for a
reason: He’s methodical in everything he
does. He’s had a great career, never had a
drop-off in pace, and it’s definitely a privilege
to race against these guys and, on a very
few occasions, even beat them. He’s won
multiple championships and Indy 500s,
so I still have a long, long way to go.
Dario, what’s your assessment of Ryan?
DARIO I first watched Ryan when he was
in Atlantics. But then I remember him at
Surfers in ’03, when he’d moved up to
CART. Graham Taylor was his engineer
and he said, “Hey, you know how to go
around here,” so we all walked around the
track and Ryan won the race. I don’t want
to take all the credit for it, but...[laughs].
It’s good to see Ryan’s potential being
realized. He’s in a good, stable environment
with good people and good cars, and he’s
made the absolute most of it. It was a
school of hard knocks for a while: when he
did get in a good situation, something bad
would happen through no fault of his own.
But you’d see real flashes of potential and
that gift. He had the pace, but then he
started getting all the other stuff you need
to win a championship. You’d see that with
every knock, he learned something – and
he used all of that last year. It was a great
season with a brilliant finish, a hard-fought
championship. In my opinion, that was the
culmination of everything he’d learned
Dario Franchitti only
when the media
asks him about it.
Should he not take
his fourth Indy 500
win in 2013 (just
days after his 40th
birthday), time is on
his side. Al Unser
Indy’s oldest winner
in ’ 87, taking a fourth
“500” five days
before he hit 48.
AGE IS NO BARRIER
AT THE BRICKYARD
before, being channeled into that one
season. It was pretty cool to see.
La T archive
Let’s talk about Indy with a guy who’s won
it three times and a guy who hasn’t had
much luck there. Ryan, do you see a
“500” win somewhere in your future?
RYAN I sure hope so. Until last year, every
year had been pretty challenging. My most
straightforward “500” before 2012 had
been my rookie season, where I qualified
15th and ran among the top five most of
the day. That’s it! In ’09, I barely made the
show. In ’ 10, we had the Mike Conway
crash and the fuel mileage problems at the
end. You had cars doing 180mph…
DARIO That was me!
RYAN And I was trying to do that, too,
and ran out with two laps to go, so we
were a long way from making it. Thank
God, Mike is OK from that accident.
In 2011, we had a debacle, and that
really jump-started the team. Sometimes
you need a kick in the pants like that, so last
year we sat on the front row and had a really
56 SPrinG 2013