Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti survived last month's horrific crash at the Houston Grand Prix, but the accident claimed his career.
Franchitti retired from IndyCar racing on Thursday, five weeks after breaking two vertebras and his right ankle, and sustaining a concussion in the Oct. 6 wreck.
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"Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority," Franchitti said in a statement. "I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I'd also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support. 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 collided with Takuma Sato on the final lap of Houston's Shell-Penzoil Grand Prix,
and Franchitti went airborne into a catch fence on the side of a turn. Franchitti was placed on a stretcher and into an ambulance.
"They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long-term wellbeing. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop. Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it's really tough to think that the driving side is now over."
Born in Scotland, Franchitti won the 500 in 2007, 2010, and 2012. He retires with 31 IndyCar wins and 33 starts in the No. 1 position.
"I'll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I've forged in the sport will last a lifetime," he said. "Hopefully in time, I'll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed."
Off the track, Franchitti is the estranged husband of Hollywood actress Ashley Judd. They were married in a Scottish castle in 2001, but announced they were divorcing in January 2013.
That didn't stop Judd from supporting Franchitti's decision.
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