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Franchitti Racking Up Awards as Daytona 500 Nears

Dario Franchitti

After a combined six starts in ARCA, NASCAR's Craftsman Truck and Busch Series, and his debut in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series' Daytona 500 looming in the distance, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' (CGRFS) Dario Franchitti has been racking up the accolades over the holiday season both in the United States and abroad.

Franchitti's feats in winning the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar title won him the Sports Personality of the Year at the Scottish Sports Awards in early December. The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Glasgow Hilton Hotel for Franchitti, who became the first Scot to win since Jim Clark in 1965.

While overseas, Franchitti was presented a Gregor Grant Award during the annual Autosport Awards in London. The award, named after Autosport's founding editor, was presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in motorsport. Previous recipients include world rally champion Carlos Sainz, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham. The 1966 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and fellow Scot Jackie Stewart presented the award to Franchitti.

Stewart, who had helped Franchitti during the early years of his career commented, "Dario has had tremendous success. He has been a great ambassador for Scottish motorsport."

Franchitti also attended the awards ceremony for the Scottish Motor Racing Club (SMRC) where he received the coveted Stewart Medal presented only at the discretion of racing legend Jackie Stewart. Stewart's 40-year reign as SMRC president came to an end this year, and Franchitti is one of only five to ever receive the honor.

As a follow up, the SMRC awarded Franchitti the John Romanes Swift Trophy, in addition to an honorary lifetime membership to the organization.

Franchitti picked up both the Earl Howe Trophy and the Era Club Trophy as the British Racing Driver's Club (BRDC) celebrated racing achievements of 2007 at their Annual Awards Luncheon at The Savoy in London. The Earl Howe Trophy is awarded to the highest placed British Driver in the Indy 500 or to the British driver who has established the most meritorious performance of the year in North America, while the Era Club Trophy is awarded to the driver who best displayed the qualities of courage and sportsmanship epitomized by the late Innes Ireland.

Franchitti is also one of 12 finalists for the Speed Performer of the Year, which will be awarded during the SPEED Performance Awards in February. The second annual SPEED Performer of the Year will be selected by a panel that includes "Wind Tunnel" host Dave Despain, veteran broadcasters Bob Varsha and Ralph Sheheen, SPEEDtv.com writers Robin Miller and Tom Jensen, and drivers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder.

Finally, Franchitti has been nominated for the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-America Team in the Open Wheel category. The annual AARWBA banquet will be held January 12th in downtown Indianapolis.

He will also make time in the off-season to collect his Borg Warner trophy and Indianapolis 500 ring at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

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