Franchitti Heads Home
July 11, 2007 | 9:17 A.M. EST
However, spend a few minutes chatting with him and you realize that while his features scream "Scotland," he has begun to accept the roots of his residence in Nashville, Tennessee as his own.
And this weekend, he makes his way back to his second home with one goal in mind: an IndyCar Series championship.
Franchitti headlines this weekend’s IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, partly because he has a residence nearby, but also because of his impressive streak of finishes which has made him the runaway leader in the championship going into race 11 of 17 this season.
Heading into this weekend’s race, the driver of the No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara-Honda has broken away from the pack courtesy of a string of nine consecutive top-five finishes which includes victories at Richmond International Raceway, Iowa Speedway and, perhaps the catalyst of this strong run, Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
And even though he has a burgeoning 47-point lead over his closest opponent, Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon, Franchitti is not taking anything for granted.
"I'm just going to keep fighting (Scott) Dixon week in, week out (for the championship)," said Franchitti, who is searching for his second victory at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend. "He's the strongest guy in the points right now.
"Don't underestimate them, never do that."
Unfortunately for the Nashville resident, he has little advantage over Dixon at this week’s venue. Franchitti may have won the 2005 running of the Firestone Indy 200 after leading 74 circuits, but Dixon is the defending race winner at Nashville, leading 69 laps during his victorious day last season.
Also, he enters the weekend with momentum after his victory last weekend at Watkins Glen International.
"We need to make headway on Dario (Franchitti) and I think we started it today," said Dixon after his Watkins Glen Performance.
Which of the two past winners will succeed? Can another driver make the title chase even more competitive?
Saturday night’s running of the Firestone Indy 200 is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. (ET). Live coverage of the 200 lap event at the 1.33-mile oval is available on ESPN, the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio.