Multi-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti is retiring due to injuries suffered in a Oct. 6 crash, Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced Thursday.
A four-time IndyCar champion and three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, Franchitti, 40, suffered two spinal fractures, a fractured right ankle and a concussion in a crash that that saw his car get airborne and into the catchfence during the final laps of the Houston Grand Prix. Thirteen spectators were also injured when debris from the accident flew into the grandstand.
Because of the increased risk of injury to his spine and head, doctors determined Franchitti could no longer race and advised he retire. In an open-wheel career that began in 1997, Franchitti won 31 IndyCar and CART races, and IndyCar championships in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Franchitti released a statement via Target Chip Ganassi Racing:
"Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority. I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I'd also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.
"One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing. They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.
"Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it's really tough to think that the driving side is now over. I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.
"I'd like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I'd also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn't thank all my fans around the world. I can't thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.
"I'll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I've forged in the sport will last a lifetime.
"Hopefully in time, I'll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I'll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I've made over the years at Target."