Franchitti looking forward to next accomplishment
Franchitti looking forward to next accomplishment: Whether the Indianapolis 500 or the IZOD IndyCar Series championship-deciding fray at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, Dario Franchitti looks forward to the next race. As a competitor, it's always about next.
"The first Indy 500 was amazing and to win that championship in the last corner of the last lap was pretty exciting," the open-wheel racing veteran says of the 2007 season. "To come back last year and win (the championship) again was something. It's always about the next race though, isn't it?
"It's all about what we can do this next race."
Drive into Victory Circle in the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 is the best the driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing and crew can do in an effort to claim a series record-tying third championship. The variable then would be in what position lone title contender Will Power finishes the 200-lap race. There is precedent. Last October, Franchitti out-dueled teammate Scott Dixon and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe over the second half of the caution-free race to claim the season-long prize.
"We know how to get the job done," Franchitti says. "The guys at Team Target know how to win it, too. We're not going to go out and change our game plan. We're going to go out to win the race. We've got to make up the points. We've got to get a 13 point advantage, which is not going to be easy.
"We've been talking about a lot this week about the ins and outs and the championships and the points. At this point, we just want to get on the track and fight out there."
Franchitti, who will make his 101st IZOD IndyCar Series start, has won on two ovals and the Mid-Ohio road course in amassing 575 points (12 arrears of Power) through 16 races.
"It's a team effort, and every team I've ever been with it's been the same thing," he says. "It's the communication between the driver and the engineer, but it's the ability of the every single person at the track and back in Indy who are working constantly trying to make these things just a little better here and there. It's the guys building the cars, the attention to detail. It's the guys in pit lane, just no mistakes. It takes all that to get you in this position. We see how costly a mistake can be, whether it's a mistake in pit lane or a mistake on the track."
Aside from a broken gearbox at Iowa Speedway, which deposited him in 18th place, Franchitti has finished out of the top 10 in only one other race (12th at Long Beach in mid-April).
"It's getting more and more you have to have a perfect season to be in championship contention, and on those days it's not going well you just have to make the best out of it," he says. "You want to win every race, but you have to accept some days you're not just going to do it. And as the competition level in the IZOD IndyCar Series continues to go up, it's getting harder and harder."
Franchitti was among 11 drivers to test Sept. 27 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and he and engineer Chris Simmons went through a checklist to cover potential variables of weather, track conditions and race strategy.
"One of the interesting things about these cars is because we've had them for so long and the regulations are so tight, it's not like you're going to find the big changes you used to get anymore," Franchitti says. "It's all little things and it's all looking for those tiny advantages."