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Franchitti eyes Champ Car for 2007UPDATE #7 As we predicted on October 23rd below, and now confirmed today, Franchitti did like he does every year, uses the media to write a story that he might be eyeing Champ Car so he can get a better deal at AGR. This IndyStar article tells more:
Dario Franchitti will be a busy driver in 2007. The veteran Indy-car driver is planning to drive for Andretti Green Racing in both the Indy Racing League and the American LeMans Series, team members said today from a trade show in Las Vegas.
Bryan Herta was confirmed as AGR’s primary driver in the ALMS, a sports car series. He will be joined by Franchitti at the events that don’t conflict with the IndyCar Series.
Team owner Michael Andretti said a contract with the Scotsman hasn’t been signed, but “we’re close.” Franchitti could not be reached for comment.
Franchitti, 33, will return to the Indy-car team he has been with since 1998. His pairing with 2004 IRL champion Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick will make for an all-star cast.
Herta couldn’t hide his enthusiasm for Franchitti joining the new Acura sports car team that will be sponsored by XM Satellite Radio.
“It will be great to have him in the car with me,” he said. “We were hoping we could do this together.” Indy Star
10/23/06 As he and his management do every year, rumors are started that Dario Franchitti is eyeing Champ Car when in fact they have every intention of staying with Andretti Green Racing. That will again be the case in 2007.
09/14/06 This rumor is now downgraded to 'false' as we predicted. Asked by Autosport if there might still be a chance that Franchitti would race for RuSPORT in Australia and Mexico, RuSPORT President Jeremy Dale said: "Never say never... but I'm 99.9 per cent certain that won't be the case."
Dale would not tell Autosport what the issue was but we can tell you it was money. In fact it was money all along. Franchitti's camp wanted too much as we reported....and we did not tell you everything we know because we were asked not to. Mark C.
09/13/06 We are getting close to downgrading this rumor to 'false.' As announced today (see Hot News page), RuSPORT will only run one car at Road America. As we told you, RuSPORT and Franchitti are far apart on cost, we hear $1 million apart for 2007 and hence we are of the opinion that there is a very good chance a deal will not be done. We suspect this is why Franchitti will not be running at Road America.
Why doesn't RuSPORT just run an American like Hunter-Reay or Rice that doesn't want an arm and a leg to drive and who have proven they can win at this level? We ask again, does Champ Car race in Scotland?
09/12/06 A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The Road America race is getting closer, how come RuSPORT has not yet announced Franchitti? Fred Stout
Dear Fred, Word is that Franchitti's management is asking for too much money for Dario's services and the team is balking. We shall see, as we said many times, we hear these Franchitti to Champ Car rumors every year, and they always turn out to be a ploy to get more money from the IRL camp and AGR. Nothing against Dario but why doesn't Champ Car put an American in that seat? Last time we checked, Champ Car doesn't race in Scotland. Mark C.
09/01/06 According to SPEEDTV.com's Robin Miller, IRL driver Dario Franchitti will wheel the #10 RuSPORT ride currently open while Cristiano da Matta recovers from his Elkhart Lake deer accident. He will fill in the last three races, all of which are after the IRL season ends at Chicagoland.
08/28/06 Robin Miller reports that Dario Franchitti may be headed to a Champ Car drive with PKV Racing in 2007, however, we have heard these rumors the last three years and it seems the Franchitti side does it as a negotiating tactic to get more money out of Andretti Green Racing. Maybe this year he'll make the switch because with Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick leading the Andretti Green charge in 2007, Dario might feel like a neglected stepchild.
07/16/06 According to a report on SPEEDTV.com, Dario Franchitti's agent, Julian Jakobi is sniffing around Champ Car, IRL, ALMS and NASCAR to see what might be available for the Scot. His contract with Andretti Green racing is up this year but bets are that Dario will stay with AGR in either their IRL or Honda ALMS effort. We doubt he will find much interest in NASCAR.
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