It’s official. Chip Ganassi has wasted no time in announcing today that Dario Franchitti will be driving for his N-word team next year. The plan is NAPCAR only – no IndyCars or any other series that doesn’t involve racing sedans. Most of all, no defense of Mr Judd’s 2007 Indy 500 victory.
Indy-car star Dario Franchitti has only one major regret now that he signed to compete in NASCAR for Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates Racing: not defending his 2007 Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League titles. "That was the hardest part of this decision," Franchitti said today (Oct. 3), when his move from the IndyCar Series to NASCAR was confirmed. "It'll be tough not defending those championships. I'll have my hands full with this new challenge, so it'll be impossible to run the 500." (MORE from AutoWeek)It’s hard to fault Franchitti for leaving AGR, where the long-term relationship quickly soured with Dario’s success in 2007. Perhaps Michael Andretti was bitter that after years of paying Dario well for mediocre results he cashes the chips all in for tin tops. Perhaps Dario was dismayed that despite his career year his team owner was more concerned about every other driver on the team. Perhaps both. Or neither. Whatever.
For the most part Franchitti has been a class act in open-wheel racing and he’ll certainly continue to be an asset wherever he races, but let’s not forget he made this decision willingly. Dario is in the enviable position of leveraging his recent successes, so he actually gets to decide to race however he chooses on this continent – and that choice does not involve activities in Speedway, Indiana in The Month of May. Judging from his actions it’s now “been there, done that” for Mr Judd.
You can’t fault the guy for taking the money and the challenge of stock car racing, but you can remember he did so by stomping on the hearts of fans of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Yeah, I’m just a little bitter, but not so much I can’t wish him good luck. Welcome to the N-word, Dario; small fish, meet big pond.
Oh, and tell Ashley to watch out for Greg Biffle’s woman.