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THE EDITOR cHampIONs pas T aND pREsENT
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“We’re certain that motorsport,
past and present, is in Dario’s
future. His ambassadorial
qualities must be utilized”
Speaking with RACER before the 2013 IndyCar Series awards
in Hollywood, champ Scott Dixon noted of a fascinating season:
“It’s weird that I battled Helio [Castroneves] in points all year,
but I can’t remember at any stage actually racing with him.”
Robin Miller didn’t
need asking twice to
write about Dario
He jumped at the
chance to honor a
driver he watched
win three Indy 500s.
a couple of days after Phil Hill died
five years ago, we were on the phone to
Sir Stirling Moss, one of his chief rivals in
both Formula 1 and sports cars.
“If you were in the same event as him,
his was always one of the first names you
looked for on the time sheets to see how
quick he’d been,” said Moss of America’s
first F1 World Champion. “He was a terrific
driver and always gave a very good
account of himself.”
Dario Franchitti’s rivals were of much
the same mind when it came to competing
against the four-time IndyCar champion, a
racer who shone on any type of track and
had the Al Unser-like ability to make it look
so easy. From the Milwaukee Mile to the
ultimate superspeedway at Indianapolis,
from the bumpy multi-surfaced streets of
Toronto to the flowing sinews of Sonoma,
Dario was a winner on them all.
We find ourselves in two minds about
Franchitti’s medically-precipitated decision
to quit racing. We’re happy and relieved
that someone so central to the sport has
retired healthy. That’s the most important
fact that should never be taken for granted,
given the size of his career-ending crash.
On the other hand, we – like Dario
himself, probably – had a glorious rest of
career mapped out for him…one more
attempt with Ganassi to join the four-time
Indy 500-winners club, then six or seven
years in prototype sports cars, perhaps
alongside Mark Webber at Porsche,
to try and add the 24 Hours of Le Mans
to his Rolex 24 at Daytona crown.
And then…decades reveling in the
sport’s history, driving classic racecars
at Goodwood, Laguna Seca and the like.
We’re certain that motorsport, past and
present, is in Dario’s future; his ambassadorial
qualities must surely be utilized. But here, in
The Champions Issue, among insight on the
title winners of 2013, we salute a departing
champion of the recent past, an IndyCar
ace who grabbed opportunities and wrung
them dry…yet did it all with a silken touch.