Dario Franchitti on the stage with the 2009 IndyCar Series championship trophy. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2009)
IndyCar: On The 10th Day, 10th Month ... #10 Car Wins It All
After securing the pole position for the Firestone Indy 300, Dario Franchitti wins his second overall championship in the IndyCar Series (ICS) in the Indy Racing League's final race of the 2009 season at Homestead-Maimi Speedway.
In a race that turned out to be the first caution-free race in IndyCar Series history leading to the second-fastest in IndyCar history resulted into an oxymoron, of sorts ... a win result due to excellent fuel management by the Tatget Chip Ganassi team and it's driver Dario Franchitti who entered the race third in the points behind Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske) and Target teammate Scott Dixon.
Eventual 2009 ICS Rookie-Of-The-Year, Raphael Matos (Luzco Dragon Racing), sits on the wall before first practice session at Homestead-Maimi Speedway. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2009)
This excerpted and edited from Autosport.com -
Franchitti surprised to win 2009 title
By Matt Beer - Autosport.com, Sunday, October 11th 2009, 11:23 GMT
Dario Franchitti said he never expected to come straight back in and win the 2009 championship when he agreed to return to the IndyCar Series this year.
The Scot had left the championship for NASCAR after winning the 2007 title, but when Ganassi had to close Franchitti's Sprint Cup operation due to a lack of finance, he accepted an invitation to switch to the team's IndyCar arm instead.
Last night at Homestead Franchitti clinched his second championship by winning a three-way fight with his team-mate Scott Dixon and Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who he beat to victory in the deciding race by stretching his fuel mileage to avoid a fourth stop while his rivals battled flat-out and had to pit again late on.
"I didn't think I'd win five races and a championship in my first year back," said Franchitti. "I knew driving for team Target [Ganassi], I'd have good equipment, just a question of could I get back into it and compete at a level that I had already.
"Scott is a better driver than he was in '07, and Ryan came in [at the front] every single week, as well as other people who made appearances and won races, but it just seemed that Scott and Ryan every week were tough competition.
"From winning in the second race at Long Beach, I knew we could get it done."
He said the second title was more satisfying than the first as there had still been separate Champ Car and IndyCar championships in 2007.
"In '07 there was a lot of satisfaction in getting that one done," said Franchitti. "I think what makes it sweeter [in '09] is we've got everybody together, and you've got a more balanced schedule, as well.
He added that he was now thoroughly settled in the IndyCar Series, but still thinks he gained from his abortive NASCAR move.
"I learned things as a driver. To drive in stock car, I got out of my comfort zone, and I learned a lot of new things, and there are things that I can apply to IndyCar. That's made me a better driver, I think.
"I'm absolutely where I should be. I should be in IndyCars. That is what I grew up to do, race in the IndyCar Series."
It is common knowledge that racing drivers are a superstitious lot, and heading into the Firestone Indy 300 one number was particularly convergent for the 2009 ICS contender Dario Franchitti: He would be racing his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Dallara Honda on Oct. 10th in search of Target Chip Ganassi’s 10th win of the season.
And in Miami, he performed to a Perfect 10.
Graham Rahal: Top 2009 season placing Transition Player (former CCWS team and/or driver) in the Indy Racing League
Overall ICS 2009 Championship Standings (** denotes a CCWS Transition Player)
Pos - Driver - Points
1. Dario Franchitti 616
2. Scott Dixon 605
3. Ryan Briscoe 604
4. Helio Castroneves 433
5. Danica Patrick 393
6. Tony Kanaan 386
7. Graham Rahal 385**
8. Marco Andretti 380
9. Justin Wilson 354**
10. Dan Wheldon 354
11. Hideki Mutoh 353
12. Ed Carpenter 321
13. Raphael Matos 312
14. Mario Moraes 304**
15. Ryan Hunter-Reay 98
16. Robert Doornbos 283**
17. Mike Conway 261
18. E.J. Viso 248**
19. Will Power 215**
20. Tomas Scheckter 195
21. Oriol Servia 115**
22. Alex Tagliani 114**
23. Paul Tracy 113**
24. Milka Duno 113
25. Sarah Fisher 89
26. Jaques Lazier 77
27. Richard Antinucci 63
28. Vitor Meira 62
29. Stanton Barrett 62
30. Alex Lloyd 41
31. Darren Manning 38
32. Townsend Bell 32**
33. A.J. Foyt IV 26
34. Scott Sharp 16
35. Nelson Philippe 16**
36. Kosuke Matsuura 13
37. John Andretti 12
38. Franck Montagny 12**
39. Roger Yasukawa 12
40. Davey Hamilton 10
... notes from The EDJE