Fearing for his life, Ashley wanted Dario out of IndyCar

UPDATE #2 Ashley Judd feared for Dario Franchitti's life back in 2007 when he announced his move to NASCAR. Rumor has it that their recent split was an argument over Dario being back in IndyCar. Now that he is retiring note they are back together again.

10/03/07 Actress Ashley Judd wasn't by her husband's side Wednesday, but she played a part in Dario Franchitti's decision to move from the Indy Racing League to NASCAR. Franchitti announced Wednesday that he will drive the No. 40 Sprint Cup car for Chip Ganassi Racing next season.

And with Franchitti comes the famous actress.

"She was very much included in the decision," Franchitti said. "We talked about it quite a lot. She's excited about it – she's real excited about it.

"She's been a great supporter throughout my open-wheel career. She's ready to go."

Obviously, NASCAR will love to have similar shots that the Indianapolis 500 had of Judd celebrating her husband's victory. It would play well beyond the NASCAR audience and would gain interest worldwide with Judd and her Scottish husband.

"When you have anyone with the worldwide stature of [drivers] Dario, Juan [Pablo Montoya] and the celebrities that are involved in NASCAR and be a bridge to a broader audience, no matter where they come from or who they are, it's always a positive and something we're certainly excited about," said NASCAR Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment President Paul Brooks, who attended the announcement. Scenedaily.com

09/12/07 These are not good days for open-wheel racing. The IndyCar Series probably will lose two more of its stars to NASCAR in Franchitti and Hornish. So the last two IndyCar Series champions, and the last two Indy 500 winners, are moving on to Cup.

And Sebastien Bourdais, the man who probably will win his fourth consecutive Champ Car title, is moving to Formula One.

People are wondering why Franchitti, an open-wheel racer all his life and a man at the peak of his Indy-car career, would jump to NASCAR. Lots of reasons: more money, more attention, a new challenge. But one reason stands far above the rest for the classy Scotsman — safety.

It's really that simple. Driving a Cup car, especially the Car of Tomorrow that will race in every event next season, is much safer than racing an Indy car on high-speed ovals.

Franchitti had two scary accidents in back-to-back races this year when his car got airborne and became a 200-mph target of destruction.

Sources say famous wife Ashley Judd had seen enough. She didn't want her hubby taking those kinds of risks any longer.

Driving a car with sheet metal surrounding you at slower speeds is much safer than an Indy car on fast ovals. ESPN.com

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