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October 3rd, 2011
Dario Franchitti says he will not feel comfortable about his IndyCar title chances until the championship is wrapped up, despite retaking the points lead at Kentucky.
Reigning champion Franchitti’s prospects of a third straight championship – and the fourth of his career – improved considerably when he finished second in yesterday’s race, which saw title rival Will Power struggle to 19th after a pitlane collision with Ana Beatriz.
The result means Power now trails Franchitti by 18 points with only the Las Vegas finale remaining. But Power can still be champion if he wins from pole and leads the most laps, with Franchitti lower than second.
The Kentucky turnaround came a fortnight after Power had taken the points lead with a second place at Motegi, where Franchitti triggered a multi-car collision.
“It just shows how quickly things change. You never give up,” said Franchitti. “Until it’s mathematically impossible, you haven’t lost it or you haven’t won it.
“It’s certainly nicer than the position we were in last week, no doubt about it. It can change in a second. So we’ll just go [to Las Vegas] with an open mind and see what comes of it.”
He said he had not let news of Power’s problems at Kentucky distract him during the race.
“It changed my mood in the car a little bit, I can tell you that, but it didn’t change how I raced,” Franchitti said.
“I think at that point we were leading. I see this car up ahead, starting to catch it. I’m thinking, ‘Damn, that looks like the #12 [Power].’ A little closer, ‘it is the #12′. When I got within about five car lengths, the yellow came out. By that point, I knew he was in trouble.
“I don’t need to know what’s happening with Will or any of the other guys because I’m just focused on doing my job.”
Franchitti also said that he would not be getting overwhelmed by the potential significance of winning another championship just yet. He has been champion in every IndyCar season he has contested since 2007 – his run only interrupted by his 2008 NASCAR foray.
“I suppose that’s something to think about when I retire and not really yet,” he said.
“I’m not thinking about what’s happened before. I think if you get too distracted thinking, ‘Oh, man, three championships’, whatever, you’re losing focus.
“So I’m just thinking about Vegas now, what I have to do there to get number four. When eventually I retire, I’ll think about things in that wider picture.”