RIVALS BUT UNITED
F. Peirce Williams/LAT Perry Nelson/LAT
RHR kisses the Astor
Challenge Cup after
winning the IndyCar
title. Can he also usurp
Dario as Indy champ?
The Scot’s third
“500” win (FAR LEFT)
reputation at the
Ryan’s confidence and
results have bloomed
at Andretti Autosport,
so it was no surprise
when he re-signed
with Michael. Each
has been instrumental
to the success of
Born May 19, 1973/Bathgate, Scotland
• Won 1991 British Formula Vauxhall
Junior title; fourth in British F3 in ’ 94.
• Joined AMG Mercedes in ’ 95 for two
years of touring cars, finishing in the
top five in both the DTM and ITC series.
• Switched to CART Indy cars in 1997.
• Has an outright win in the Rolex 24
and a class win at the Sebring 12hrs.
Dario had a near-miss with the 1999
CART/IndyCar crown, finishing with the
same points as champion Juan Pablo
Montoya but losing on win-count.
This leads into the question of Randy
Bernard’s dismissal. Do you like the series’
direction, or are you frustrated by yet
another change in leadership?
DARIO It’s not new. We’ve lived through
RYAN Many times, unfortunately.
DARIO In my opinion, to run this series is
not a one-man job. It’s a team effort. They
need to build a team. There’s a marketing
aspect and a racing aspect and you need
somebody in overall charge of that. It
seems like right now they’re missing a
racing expert and a marketing person.
They’ve got a CEO in Mark Miles. I’ve never
spoken to the guy, but he seems to have a
good reputation and a good track record.
RYAN Yes, but like you say, it’s a team. It’s
not just one person who holds his fist in the
air and says, “Follow me!” It’s a whole group.
As I said, we’ve got the hardest part – the
on-track part – under control. We need to
put the other bit together, and quickly.
DARIO TV is the key; viewership numbers
are crucial because sponsors look at that.
It’s not uncommon
for IndyCar champs
to pass up the
chance to run No. 1.
Ryan H-R felt his
team and sponsors
deserved it, but
he’s also retained
No. 28 to represent
the 28 million
afflicted by cancer,
the disease that
claimed his mother.
TWO NUMBERS FOR
ONE GOOD CAUSE
The ABC and ESPN races have been not
too shabby at all, but there’s an issue with
the NBC Sports races. I don’t know what
the fix is, but it needs to be sorted.
RYAN The most frustrating thing to me is
that we had all this progress last year, but
we went backward when the season ended.
I think Randy did a great job, and I thank
him for his service, but I think his getting
let go was blown way out of proportion.
DARIO You know what pissed me off? We
won three titles in a row, so people were
saying, “OK, we want somebody else to
win it now,” and for years, fans have been
saying we need an American champion.
Well, then Ryan goes out and does it – an
American driver, great story, gets it done
on the last lap, fantastic finish – and within
two days nobody is talking about it! All his
effort, all his team’s effort, all of that great
story that everybody was crying out for…
it’s gone. It sucks for Ryan because his
lifetime ambition was to be IndyCar champ,
and he did it. So that’s one side of the
deal. The other side is that IndyCar really
Eight years later, Dario took his first
IndyCar title and also became the
first Briton to win the Indy 500 since
Graham Hill, some 41 years earlier.
In 2011, Franchitti raced to his fourth
IndyCar title, his third straight with
Chip Ganassi Racing. Dario now has 31
wins, including three in the Indy 500.