Franchitti eager for return to IndyCar
|By Pablo Elizalde||Wednesday, October 15th 2008, 10:15 GMT|
Dario Franchitti is eager to return to the IndyCar series following his absence from the championship this season.
The Scot left the IRL at the end of last season, after securing his first title, to move to stock car racing for 2008.
Franchitti did not manage to succeed in NASCAR, however, and decided to return to open-wheel racing with Chip Ganassi to partner current champion Scott Dixon in 2009.
Franchitti admitted that staying away from IndyCar made him realise how much he missed racing there.
"When I broke my ankle (in a Nationwide race in April), I kind of came up for air and that's right when Indianapolis was happening," he told the IndyCar website. "I came to the Speedway and watched rookie practice and that was my first kind of, 'I'm not going to at Indy this year.'
"Then I got back to focusing on the Cup thing and our results were crap but we started to run really quite well. Then the team shuts down and I come back up for air again and that's right at that point they're doing some of the short tracks and the road and street tracks and I'm watching that.
"Then Chip started to make noises about, 'Would you come back to IndyCar?' and it got me thinking. It all culminated in Detroit. Chip and I went there to discuss the 41 Target car in Cup, coming here and driving this car. There was a bunch of stuff on the table.
"I could see Chip was really excited about the possibility of me coming to drive in IndyCar and I was really intrigued by it. I did the track walk, saw a bunch of my old friends -- I was walking around with (brother) Marino and spent some time going around with Danica. On Friday morning, I stood at Turn 1 and it was a done deal. 'That's what I want to do.'
"I knew going down the stretch last year I'd given it everything. I knew I wasn't going to be 100 percent for another year, so I wanted to go do something else and when I went away I realised how much I missed it."
And the former champion reckons the series will be much better than when he left following this year's unification.
"When unification happened, I thought, 'That was some good timing wasn't it?'" Franchitti added. "I arrive just after the series split and I leave just before they get back together. I looked at the schedule and it looks like a great schedule.
"I think the series is a lot different than 12 months ago. It's in a lot better shape so that's great. Having 28 cars in the field is awesome."