Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fast Facts: Dario Franchitti

Dan Helrigel/IndyCar Media
NASCAR fans may remember Dario Franchitti as the driver of the No. 40 Dodge for Target Chip Ganassi Racing for the first half of the 2008 season, but his greatest successes have been in the IZOD IndyCar Series, where he is a four-time champion and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. Here’s a quick introduction to this popular and talented IndyCar Series driver.
  • George Dario Marino Franchitti was born May 19th, 1973 in Scotland. He is of Italian and Scottish heritage and has a short family history in motorsports: his brother Marino is also a driver, and his cousin Paul di Resta is a driver for the Force India Formula One team.

  • Franchitti’s racing career began in karting, winning numerous titles in the United Kingdom in the mid-1980s. He progressed to Formula racing afterward, winning the Formula Vauxhall Junior title in 1991 and the Formula Vauxhall Lotus title in 1993.

  • He made his CART debut in 1997, one of the series’ “young guns,” which also included Juan Pablo Montoya, Max Papis, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves and the late Greg Moore, who was killed during the 1999 season finale at Auto Club Speedway. Franchitti was tied in points with Montoya at the end of the 1999 season, but Montoya won the championship thanks to a tie-breaker – total wins (seven for Montoya and three for Franchitti).

  • Franchitti moved to the IndyCar Series in 2003, but missed most of the season with a back injury from a motorcycle accident. In 2007, he won his first Indy 500 and IndyCar championship, after which he made the move to NASCAR at season’s end. Franchitti ran 29 races over the top three NASCAR series (Cup, Nationwide and Trucks) from late 2007 to August 2008, before he and team owner Chip Ganassi made the move back to IndyCar in 2009.

  • Franchitti has dominated IndyCar since his return, winning championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011, plus the Indy 500 in 2010. He continues to drive for Ganassi as a member of Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

  • Franchitti is married to actress and activist Ashley Judd. The couple splits their time between homes in Scotland and Franklin, Tennessee.

  • Find out more about Franchitti at http://www.franchitti.com/.

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