It was really good to see Dario Franchitti, the Scottish boy with the Italian surname, win his second Indy 500. I was lucky enough to work with him during his initial foray into American racing in the CART Champ Car Series way back in 1997. He had been a Mercedes-Benz factory driver in the DTM (German Touring Car Series), and Mercedes backed his leap into Indycars. Since his team, Hogan Racing, didn't have a major sponsor, those of us at Mercedes-Benz here in the States got to work with him a lot. (He's pictured here in the '97 Hogan Indycar with little or no sponsorship - but with his very recognizable helmet.) We were sad to see him defect to Honda the following year, though, in retrospect, it was a very wise move for his career.
There is no nicer guy in motorsports - heck, there's probably not too many nicer guys anywhere. And he seems to have married pretty well.
It was nice to see him give a big hug to his dad, George, in Victory Lane. His father has frequently accompanied him throughout his racing career. My most memorable chat with George took place when he was asked the biggest difference between Scotland and the States. He gave a thoughtful pause and then quipped in his deadpan Scottish brogue, "you got a lot o' fat people here..."
Yes indeed, and congratulations to Dario on Indy win number two after a thoroughly dominant day.
On a somber and scary note, Mike Conway was lucky to come out of his savage crash with a broken leg and back injuries. He has come though surgery today and will be out of action for several months after his crash with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay had surgery on his thumb, but will not miss the race this weekend at Texas.
I missed watching the 500 live to compete in the 24 Hours of Victory Lane here in Charlotte. It's the biggest karting endurance event in the US, and it was great to race hard and finish ninth with team fingerprint inc. Thanks to everyone at Victory Lane Karting as well as my teammates Kevin and Evan York, Bryan Armbrust, Speed-TV's John Luzzi and Dr. John Connaughton from UNC-Charlotte. Big, big fun and I have the blisters and sore muscles to prove it. You can read all about from the Charlotte Observer.