Andretti Green Racing driver #27 Dario Franchitti celebrates after taking the pole with a speed and time of 218.308 and 32.9810. Image Credit: ERIC SEALS/DFP
Dario Franchitti Survives to “Fly” Another Day
The IndyCar race at Michigan International Speedway was very exciting, close (to close), and virtually unwatched due to a rain delay that pushed the original start time and broadcast outlet off a good four hours (broadcast station from ESPN2 to ESPN Classic which not all standard cable providers carry).
There is no agreement between IndyCar and the MIS to stage another race there and this maybe just fine with Dario Franchitti.
In the late stages of the race, Dan Weldon managed to creep up the track and tangle his tires with Franchitti’s Canadian Club sponsored Andretti Green Racing machine sending him and the car on a wild airborne twisting flip that had the car land upside down. He walked away unscathed! Amazing!
This YouTube video starts at lap 141, moments later Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti interlock wheels and Dario goes airborne, bounces off the cars of Scott Dixon and AJ Foyt IV. Note how close Dario's sidepod gets to the helmet of Dixon and the tire marks on AJ IV's helmet.
This morning, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, Dario wasn’t as lucky.
Contessa Brewer, while reading (and not understanding) the news, managed to mangle Dario’s last name during the full three hour telecast (again, virtually unwatched after the firing of Don Imus from this timeslot). She persisted in pronouncing Dario’s last name Fran-Chet-tea as opposed to Fran-Key-tea.
It is not as if Dario Franchitti’s name, and how it is pronounced, is not well known … he only won this year’s Indianapolis 500 race and he is part of a Hollywood “Power Couple” in that he is married to Ashley Judd and has been for a few years now.
This situation says more about the clueless-ness of the reporter than the fame of the race car driver.
We, at MAXINE, are happy - all that happened yesterday is that Dario Franchitti lost only one point in his series points lead over rival Scott Dixon … further, we can only hope that Contessa Brewer will soon be catapulted by MSNBC for her lack of attention to detail (trust us on this – it isn’t the first time she showed she could not read and understand) and NOT be around to fly another day.
Excerpts from Autoweek -
The Last IndyCar Race at Michigan Wasn’t Pretty
Tony Kanaan held off Marco Andretti for the win.
By CURT CAVIN - Autoweek - This article was last updated on: 08/06/07, 09:33 et
IndyCar said goodbye—at least for now—to Michigan International Speedway, and no one shed a tear.
Not the drivers who crashed out of the rain-delayed Firestone Indy 400, not the team owners who saw their cars damaged, not the Indy Racing League officials who held their breath through the carnage and not the promoter who hosted one of the smallest crowds of the season.
“I’m in no hurry to come back at this moment,” Dario Franchitti said.
Franchitti survived one of the nastiest accidents in recent memory when his car got turned sideways by Dan Wheldon on lap 144 and vaulted into the air, an estimated 20 feet at its peak.
The car, which won the Indianapolis 500, rotated twice before landing on top of that of fellow championship contender Scott Dixon, whose helmet got scuffed by a tire.
Franchitti, who realized immediately what kind of ride he was in for, said the landing was soft. He headed to Dixon to thank him.
“He really saved me,” he said.
The roll bar on Franchitti’s car was sheared off and parts and pieces scattered everywhere. Some of them struck the helmet and car of A.J. Foyt IV; others bounced off Wheldon’s machine.
The incident also collected Tomas Scheckter, Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Sharp. The situation looked so grim at first that Hornish climbed from his car to assist with Franchitti’s rescue. As it turned out, Hornish was one of 10 people to help put the car back on its wheels.
Then Franchitti, who had led 101 laps, climbed out unharmed. Amazingly, no one else was injured.
“It’s unbelievable,” the Scot said. “The only other time I’ve been upside-down like that was in a DTM testing crash at Hockenheim.
“I certainly don’t want to do that again.”
Kanaan held off Marco Andretti in the final laps to win by 0.059 second. It was his third win of the season and his 10th overall.
A crowd estimated at 10,000 watched. For now, none of them will return to MIS for an IndyCar race.
UPDATE Aug. 12, 2007 -
Dario Flys Again ... You Just Can't Keep A Good Man Down
Dario Franchitti takes to the air for the second time in as many weeks!
Excerpted from IndyCar website with contribution from YouTube -
Kanaan wins, Dixon moves to eight points behind Franchitti
By Dave Lewandowski - indycar.com
SPARTA, Ky. – As Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon – locked in a championship duel -- battled for second place through the midsection of the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Edy's, Tony Kanaan's No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car was knifing through the twilight air at Kentucky Speedway less than a second ahead.
The lead transferred through pit stop cycles, but Kanaan was never out of the top five.
But the excitement didn't end for the crowd of more than 56,000 and the ESPN audience. Taking the checkered flag, Franchitti's No. 27 Canadian Club car ran into/over the rear of the No. 55 Panasonic Panther Racing car driven by Kosuke Matsuura just past the finish line and flipped backward – again. Franchitti, who walked away from a frightening crash six days earlier at Michigan International Speedway in which his car flipped several times, also was unscathed in the post-race incident.
"That one was completely my fault; there's no excuse," Franchitti said. "I screwed up twice in the race. I screwed up once coming out of the pits and then after the checkered. I didn't realize it was the checkered. I got the 'Hey, it's a checkered' just as I was hitting him. I'm pretty disgusted right now for that -- for both my mistakes today."
Franchitti, who finished eighth mainly because of a pit lane mistake 20 laps earlier, saw his points lead over Dixon sliced to eight. Kanaan moved to 52 points behind.