HOMESTEAD, FLA. (AP) - IndyCar owner Roger Penske lauded three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti for walking away from racing.
"Don't win the Indianapolis race three times unless you're a great driver," Penske said Saturday night after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series owners' title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "A bit disappointed. At his age, the things he can do in his profession going forward, quality person, great racer. I really admire him for making that decision."
Franchitti kept Penske Racing drivers from winning IndyCar titles in 2009 (Ryan Briscoe), 2010 (Will Power) and 2011 (Power).
Franchitti, a four-time IndyCar Series champion, reluctantly and abruptly retired Thursday after doctors told him it would be too dangerous to continue racing because of injuries sustained in a harrowing crash last month.
Franchitti fractured his spine, broke his right ankle and suffered a concussion in the Oct. 6 race at Houston. He made contact with Takuma Sato's car on the last lap and sailed into a fence.
The 40-year-old Franchitti underwent two surgeries on his ankle and recently returned home to Scotland to recover.