Scotland's Dario Franchitti during practice for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 08 Sept at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Franchitti, locked in a battle for the IndyCar Series crown, earned pole position Saturday for the season-ending race. Today, he won the race and the championship on the last lap. Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images/Gavin Lawrence
Dario Franchitti Survives To Land A Championship
In what has to be one of the tightest races in a points championship battled out over 17 races, Dario Franchitti outlasts Scott Dixon on the final lap with enough fuel to scoot past for the outright win and the points championship at Chicagoland Speedway.
Starting the race with only a three point lead over Dixon, Franchitti had to be at least in front of Scott Dixon in order to grab the Indy Racing League championship for 2007 but that was not to be. The whole race Dario not only trailed Scott Dixon of the Target/Chip Ganassi Team, but Dixon's teammate Dan Weldon, along with Helio Castorneves, and Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske.
AGR teammates Dario Franchitti and Danica Patrick chat prior to driver introductions. - Image Credit: Chris Jones
In the final laps, Dario Franchitti's Andretti/Green Racing teammate, Danica Patrick entered the pit lane for a final splash of fuel and spun, stalling her car. This brought out a yellow caution flag and slowed the field down allowing the race cars to save fuel. Before the caution flag came out, both Dixon and Franchitti were probably going to have to come in for fuel as well but with the cars slowed ... they used alot less fuel setting up a shootout run to the end with two laps to go.
Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti battle for the lead at Chicagoland. - Image Credit: Jim Haines
Both Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti rolled the dice (by staying out on the track). The green flag drops and on the next to the last turn before the finish line, the checkered flag that would end the race and the season ... Dixon's car sputtered and ran out of fuel. Franchitti poped to the right to miss rear-ending Dixon's car and sped forward to the wave of the checkered flag.
In a season that that featured Dario's car going airborne and flipping in racing accidents with Dario going uninjured through two consecutive races, this year's Indy 500 winner, Dario Franchitti and Andretti/Green Racing proved to be the most deserving of champions for 2007 by earning the championship through the air and on the track.
What a great season and a great racing series.
Dario Franchitti 2007 Championship Photo with team oner Michael Andretti, and Dario's wife, Ashley Judd - Image Credit: Jim Haines
Final ten laps excerpted from the “Commentary” section of the Live Timing & Scoring at the Indy Racing League website –
Dario Franchitti wins the race and championship as Scott Dixon runs out of fuel!
Lap 199: White flag. #9 Scott Dixon leads #27 Dario Franchitti by 0.0605 sec.
Lap 198: Dario makes it two wide for the lead.
Lap 198: A two lap shoot-out for the championship!
Lap 197: One lap until back to green.
Lap 196: Dan Wheldon may have lost his gearbox.
Lap 195: Pits are open.
Lap 194: Yellow for #7 Danica Patrick spun at pit-in.
Lap 193: Wheldon is slow in T2. He may be out of fuel.
Lap 193: #10 Dan Wheldon leads #9 Scott Dixon by 0.1337 sec.
Lap 192: Marty Roth is slow on the backstretch.
Lap 192: #10 Dan Wheldon leads #9 Scott Dixon by 0.1896 sec.
Lap 190: Dan Wheldon takes back the lead.
Lap 190: Top 5: #9 Dixon, #10 Wheldon, #27 Franchitti, #7 Patrick, #8 Sharp.
Reference Here (Commentary is live only - direct reference may not be available)>>
Dario celebrating the Chicagoland victory and 2007 Indy Car Championship - Click cursor on photo to send Dario and AGR a message of congratulations! - Image and Link Credit: Indy Racing League
Dario Franchitti finishes the season with 637 points to Scott Dixon's 624 points to capture the title.
Dario's 637 total points this season is a record for the series. The previous high was 628 by Dan Wheldon in the 2007 season. This is Dario's first IndyCar Series Championship. He becomes the third consecutive Indianapolis 500 winner to go on to win the IndyCar Series Championship in the same season.
This is the third IndyCar Series Championship for Andretti Green Racing. The team won the title in 2004 with Tony Kanaan, 2005 with Dan Wheldon. Andretti Green Racing becomes the first team to win three IndyCar Series Championships.
Team Menard, A.J. Foyt Racing and Panther Racing have each won two championships.
The margin for the championship was 13 points. It's the seventh time in 12 seasons that the IndyCar Series Championship point margin has been 20 points or less.