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Dario Franchitti to retire after doctors say he can no longer race

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Franchitti celebrates winning the 2013 Indy 500 in May/With his dogs at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston on Oct. 10 (AP)

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti said Thursday that doctors have told him he can no longer race because of injuries sustained in an IndyCar crash last month.

Franchitti fractured his spine, broke his right ankle and suffered a concussion in the Oct. 6 crash at Houston. The crash occurred on the last lap when his car made contact with another car and went sailing into a fence.

The 40-year-old Franchitti underwent two surgeries on his ankle and recently returned home to Scotland to recover.

"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," Franchitti said. "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."

The four-time IndyCar champion has been the face of the series since he returned in 2009 following a brief stint in NASCAR. He won three consecutive titles from 2009 to 2011, and two of his three Indy 500 wins.

Franchitti had crossover appeal for the IndyCar Series through his 11-year marriage to actress Ashley Judd, which ended in January. But he was personable, well-spoken, popular in the paddock and passionate about the sport. It resonated with fans and made Franchitti one of IndyCar's all-time greats.

Franchitti's 31 victories are tied for eighth on the all-time list, and his 33 poles are sixth on the all-time list.

"Dario Franchitti has done so much for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, so it will be very disappointing to not see him in our cars next season," Ganassi said. "But simply put, Dario is a motorsports legend and will be sorely missed on the race track by everyone in the paddock and in the stands. His contributions to the sport of motor racing are too many to list, but I can tell you that they go way beyond what he has done on the track."

 

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