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Franchitti collects $1M
A few days after winning the 2007 IndyCar® Series championship, Dario Franchitti was honored for his first open-wheel title in the United States.

Franchitti and Indy Pro Series™ champion Alex Lloyd – along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers – were recognized during the Indy Racing League Championship Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series, presented Franchitti with a $1 million championship bonus check and a mini IndyCar Series championship trophy. A mini IndyCar Series championship trophy also was awarded to Andretti Green Racing owners Michael Andretti, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree.

“The championship means a lot.” said Franchitti, who earned an IndyCar Series-record $4,017,583 this season. “It’s been kind of elusive. I’ve been over here 10 years and I’ve won a lot of races, but to finally win it means a lot. I didn’t realize what it did mean until I crossed the finish line (Sunday). I’m just so happy. To do that and the 500 in one year, I’m really proud.”

In addition to the championship bonus, Franchitti accepted the $10,000 Bosch Platinum Award and received a $100,000 diamond-encrusted champion’s timepiece from Ritmo Mundo.

Jeff Grahn, chief mechanic for Franchitti’s No. 27 Canadian Club Honda-powered Dallara, accepted the Hitachi Power Tools IndyCar Series Chief Mechanic of the Year Award and its $25,000 prize.

Ryan Hunter-Reay of Rahal Letterman Racing accepted the $50,000 Bombardier LearJet Rookie of the Year Award. Tomas Scheckter of Vision Racing accepted the Xtrac Championship Award and its $5,000 prize.

Lloyd accepted the Firestone Firehawk Cup along with a $5,000 award from Lincoln Electric, the $5,000 prize as the winner of the Oxley Financial Group Lap Leader Award and a $5,000 “Securing Tomorrow Award” from Gregory & Appel Insurance for winning the most races of any driver.

“It’s really been such a great year for me and for the team,” said Lloyd, who won a series-record eight races.. “I’m just so appreciative of Sam Schmidt and the entire team for the great job they did for me the whole year. They really made my job easy.”

John Roof Jr., chief mechanic for Lloyd’s No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, accepted $5,000 as Mo’sGold Chief Mechanic of the Year.

Hideki Mutoh of Super Aguri-Panther Racing won $10,000 as Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year, while Jaime Camara of Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing, Inc., claimed the Sunoco Most Improved Driver and its $10,000 prize for improving the most total positions during the 2007 season.

IndyCar Series award winners

Championship driver: Dario Franchitti

Herff Jones Championship Driver Award (ring valued at $5,000): Dario Franchitti

Ritmo Mundo Championship Driver Award (diamond watch valued at $100,000): Dario Franchitti

Canon Championship Award (Prize package valued at $2,000): Dario Franchitti and Jeff Grahn

Championship team: Andretti Green Racing

Championship team sponsor: Canadian Club

Championship general manager: Kyle Moyer

Hitachi Power Tools Chief Mechanic of the Year Award ($25,000 and set of Hitachi Power Tools): Jeff Grahn

Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award ($50,000): Ryan Hunter-Reay

Second place championship driver: Scott Dixon

Second place championship team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Third place championship driver: Tony Kanaan

Third place championship team: Andretti Green Racing

BOSCH Platinum Award ($10,000 for highest-finishing driver using Bosch spark plugs): Dario Franchitti

Xtrac Championship Award ($5,000 for driver who won most Xtrac Awards during 2007): Tomas Scheckter

Manufacturer Recognition Awards: Honda, Firestone, Ethanol, Delphi, Dallara, Xtrac, and K&N Filters

Indy Pro Series award winners

Championship driver (mini Firehawk Cup): Alex Lloyd

Herff Jones Championship Driver Award (ring valued at $4,000): Alex Lloyd

Ritmo Mundo Championship Driver Award (watch valued at $25,000): Alex Lloyd

Lincoln Electric Company Championship Driver Award ($5,000): Alex Lloyd

Championship team (mini Firehawk Cup): Sam Schmidt Motorsports

Lincoln Electric Company Championship Team Award (welding product): Sam Schmidt Motorsports

Mo’sGold Chief Mechanic of the Year: John Roof Jr.

Second place championship driver: Hideki Mutoh

Second place championship team: Super Aguri-Panther Racing

Lincoln Electric Company Second Place Championship Team Award (welding product):

Super Aguri-Panther Racing

Third place championship driver: Wade Cunningham

Third place championship team: AFS Racing Inc./Andretti Green Racing

Lincoln Electric Company Third Place Championship Team Award (welding product):

AFS Racing Inc./Andretti Green Racing

Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year ($10,000): Hideki Mutoh

The Oxley Financial Group Lap Leader Award ($5,000): Alex Lloyd

Gregory & Appel "Securing Tomorrow" Award ($5,000): Alex Lloyd

Sunoco Most Improved Driver ($10,000): Jaime Camara
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