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He appreciates the opportunity he has with Ganassi, where he and teammate Scott Dixon win races and challenge for the title every year. They get along well, support each other on and off the track, and understand how rare that can be these days.

And, after struggling with underperforming teams early in his career, Franchitti appreciates being with a powerhouse organization.

“When you get a chance to drive for a team like I do, the Target team, you wait for that opportunity your whole life and you realize what you have and you don’t take it for granted,” he said. “It’s something to enjoy and you don’t want to give it up. I’ve been on the other side of it, and I realize exactly what I have with this team.”

The final year of his current contract with Ganassi comes up in 2013. And he knows the clock is ticking on his career.

“Since I came back to IndyCar, that’s been on my radar,” Franchitti said. “And so I just enjoy every sort of year I get to do it. The fact that I’ve been successful has made it more enjoyable. But this is all I’ve known since I was 10 years old, and if you’ve got one eye on the exit, you are not really focusing on what you are doing. I can only go racing one way, 100 percent, and if I don’t it doesn’t work. We’ll see what time brings.”

His focus now is on the remaining two races, starting Sunday at Baltimore.

Franchitti is in position to help Dixon win the championship, even though he believes it’s going to be tough to chase down points leader Will Power. Still, it’s been Dixon who has helped Franchitti win the last two titles, and Franchitti wants to repay the favor if possible.

Dixon goes into Sunday’s race ranked fourth in the standings, 54 points behind Power.

“It’s been my goal since we were essentially out of it to help Dixie,” Franchitti said. “He’s not given up, and we know anything can happen. So we’ll give it a go and see how it shakes out.”