RIVALS BUT UNITED
Michael Levitt/LAT Phillip Abbott/LAT
Dario’s 2012 Indy
win was arguably
the hardest fought,
having come through
from the back of the
field after being
tapped into a spin
in pit lane.
After a couple of early
Dallara’s new DW12,
Franchitti was a
force for the
remainder of 2012.
No one, though, was
as strong season-long
Born Dec. 17, 1980/Dallas, Texas
• Won Skip Barber Formula
Dodge Series title in 1999.
• Won races in Atlantics, earning him
a full-time ride in CART in 2003.
• Took Indianapolis 500 Rookie of
the Year honors in 2008.
• Raced in A1 Grand Prix, and also has
a class win at 12 Hours of Sebring.
Driving an American Spirit Team
Johansson Reynard, Ryan scored a
win at Surfers Paradise in his rookie
CART Indy car season of 2003.
Ryan was the first
American to win a
united Indy car title
since Al Unser Jr.
achieved it in 1994.
good car, but had a mechanical issue.
Something I’ve learned from watching
Dario at Indy is that he has a knack for
being where he needs to be in the closing
stages. He won’t burn up fuel, run up front
and flex his muscles early. He lies back and
learns the whole way; soaks everything up
and saves fuel. Dario knows what he needs
to do with his car to be there at the end.
Every lap at Indy, you learn something.
It’s about the mental approach, learning
from the right people over the years –
which I’m doing as well – and having the
right team around you. I’ve learned firsthand. You can’t win Indy with the right
team and car, but with a driver who
doesn’t know how to approach the race.
Even if you’re second with two laps to go,
it still takes a hell of a driver to win the race.
You have to have the whole package.
So Dario, do you approach the next Indy
500 with history in mind, or do you look at
it like it’s “just” another “500”? It’s hard
enough to do it once, but to do it three
“Dario has a knack for being
where he needs to be in the
closing stages at Indy”
times and have a shot at four or even five...
RYAN That’s crazy…
DARIO I know! [Pause] You can’t think of
Indy like, “What if I do this?” or “What if I
do that?’ It’s the same as going there for
the first time. It’s about the mechanics of
making it happen, focusing on preparation.
It’s a boring thing to say, but you have to
prepare yourself the same way you always
do rather than talking about the “what ifs…?”
You prepare, get in the race, do your best
and, hopefully, you’ll be there at the end.
It’s difficult to win anywhere, but
especially Indianapolis so I was delighted
to win one “500.” The fact that we’re
sitting here talking about the possibility of
four blows my mind a little bit. But that
won’t be in my head come race day. It will
Ryan’s second CART win, at
Milwaukee in ’04 for Herdez Racing,
came after leading all 250 laps at
Milwaukee – still an Indy car record.
After years in the U.S. open-wheel
wilderness, RHR joined RLR – Rahal
Letterman Racing – and, in ’08, the
combo conquered at Watkins Glen.