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DATE News (chronologically)
06/20/09
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Q&A with Dario Franchitti  
Dario Franchitti
Quotes from 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti below when interviewed by the Des Moines Register newspaper.

ON THE ECONOMY

“With the real kick that everybody took with the economy last year and the fact we’re still fielding – I mean, this weekend’s only 20 cars, but other than that we’ve been at 23, 24 cars. To still be fielding that many cars in a really troubled time – without the unified series, I don’t know what kind of shape we’d be in right now. It’s pretty impressive.”

ON TIRES AND RESTARTS

“One of the tough things we have is because we’re on a superspeedway tire at Iowa, is getting temperature quickly into those tires on starts and restarts. That’s not a Firestone problem. That’s just because of the demands of this track, that’s the tire to bring. Those tires work perfectly at all other tracks under any conditions, it’s just here, on such a short track, its getting them up to temperature. And we want it instantly. With as aggressive a setup as you run here it’s difficult to do that.”

ON TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM PERFORMANCE THIS SEASON (Franchitti’s 11 points from lead, teammate Scott Dixon’s three points from lead)

“(At St. Petersburg) we were great. Kansas, Scott was very strong and I didn’t do a good job getting guys information to set the car up there. Indy we were very, very good and we had some pretty costly mistakes there at the end. Milwaukee, not bad. Texas, not great. We need to improve probably our one and a half mile performance and we just need to execute every week. We can’t afford mistakes. Kansas, we had the brake failure. It was one of those things – did I make a mistake? – and you go back afterwards and I spoke to the guys the next morning, and, ‘No, no, it was a brake failure in the rear.’ We cant afford these mistakes whether it’s with me, the guys, or the car. We’re sitting here with some pretty good results, but we’re kind of asking for perfection, you know what I mean? To challenge for a championship you can’t afford anything, everything’s got to be perfect every week, and that’s what we’re striving for. But the competition’s pretty stiff, though – there’s the usual suspects as I call them.”

ON OFF THE TRACK PURSUITS

“I fly helicopters. I sold my helicopter about a year in a half ago when I went to NASCAR and I regret it because I really miss flying it. And I love old cars. I love all cars, but I have a soft spot for old cars. … I would have flown here to Iowa in ’07 but the weather did its usual. I thought the weather in Scotland was bad until I came to Iowa.”

ON A LIFE IN RACING

“I was pretty serious about it from a young age. I wasn’t quite so serious about my school work.”

ON AUTOGRAPHS

“A friend of mine gave me an old book recently, and it was IndyCar 1988. And it’s got guys like Arie (Luyendyk) in it and Mario (Andretti), Michael (Andretti) and Dale Coyne and stuff like that. So I said to them all, ‘I’m going to come around. I’m going to get all of you to sign this book. Just for fun.’ Arie signed it last week for me. We were on a bus. Arie and I did a helmet swap – swapped one of his old helmets for one of mine. So he came out and signed it for me.”

ON TRANSITIONING BACK FROM NASCAR TO INDYCAR

“I decided to do the Nationwide Series (in 2008), do that as much as I can. That was good for me, especially my confidence, because we qualified on the pole at the Glen, we were in a good position to win that and I was like, ‘Yes, this is cool.’ We ran up front at Bristol, qualified on the front row. Led a bunch of laps, and I go, ‘OK this is – I’m getting this here.’ But then Chip made the fateful call (as far as the Sprint Cup Series team goes). He’d been kind of asking these questions: ‘How do you feel about going back to IndyCar? If I can do something with that what would you think?’ Eventually, he stopped asking questions, he was blunt, and said, ‘Do you want to do Indy car?’”


ON FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF IOWA SPEEDWAY

“(Former teammate) Tony (Kanaan) had tested here and said, ‘Man, this is place is going to freak you out. It’s so fast and it’s so high-banked and it’s so quick and it’s so physical. It’s going to be intense.’ I was like, ‘Man, Iowa?’ I hadn’t been to Iowa, I didn’t know anything about it, so thought what kind of crowd are we going to get?’” Des Moines Register

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