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Franchitti earns nearly $2.5 million for Indy 500 win

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Dario Franchitti's first win at Indianapolis, in 2007, made him more than just Ashley Judd's husband.

His second win, in 2010, was about pure dominance — he led 155 of the 200 laps.

This year's victory was about standing among the all-time greats. He earned $2,474,280 from an overall purse of $13,285,815 for Sunday's win. The four-time series champion from Scotland became just the 10th driver to win IndyCar's signature event at least three times.

Helio Castroneves, the only other current driver with three wins at Indy, already was promoting next year's race.

"Dario, well done, man," Castroneves said Monday during the victory awards celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Three times. Now, we're going to be racing, so who gets four? That'll be cool, huh? That'll be really cool."

Now that Franchitti has basically done it all, there's only one thing left.

Dancing.

Castroneves won 'Dancing with the Stars,' so a few of the drivers had a little fun with Franchitti now that he's joined Castroneves as a three-time winner.

"Three times," Alex Tagliani said. "I think the drivers think you need to step it up. We think if you come and try to do it four times, you should try 'Dancing with the Stars.' I think that's the only thing you can try to do to step it up."

Castroneves continued the joke.

"You want to do it? I know the people. I have people," he said as Judd gave the cutoff sign.

Franchitti prefers to let his car do the dancing. He started 16th, took the lead for good in the No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda car from his teammate, Scott Dixon, on lap 199. He overcame a spirited passing attempt by Takuma Sato in turn 1 on the final lap. Sato spun and hit the SAFER Barrier while Franchitti hung on to win the race under caution.

Sato explained the reasoning behind his aggressive inside move.

"There's only one podium, which is the winner," Sato said matter-of-factly.

Sato joked that Franchitti wouldn't want to see the No. 15 car next to him in the future.

"I'm small, but I need a little bit more room," Sato said, drawing laughter from Franchitti and a thumbs-up from Judd.

When asked if everything was OK between himself and Franchitti, Sato said "I think so. I hope,'" as Franchitti nodded affirmatively.

Justin Wilson recalled getting hopeful for a moment when he saw that Franchitti and Sato nearly connected.

Then again, it was Franchitti.

"Dario's a wily old cat," Wilson said. "He had something up his sleeve."

Dixon, who won the race in 2008, earned $1,102,280 for finishing second. It was his seventh consecutive top-six finish at Indianapolis.

Franchitti expects a tougher Dixon the rest of the year.

"I'm a little upset here," Franchitti said to Dixon. "I know you're going to come back stronger."

Franchitti's move to elite status nearly didn't happen. E.J. Viso, who rear ended him in the pits early in the race, acknowledged that he was a bit too close.

"Well, it didn't cost him much," Viso said. "Happy, man, that you won the race. You deserve it."

Unfortunately for Franchitti, he learned Monday that three-time winning status often comes with jokes about your age.

"Dario, you are a legend," Ryan Briscoe, the polesitter who finished fifth, said. "You were a legend to me when I was racing go carts."

James Hinchcliffe wouldn't mind if Franchitti opted for early retirement.

"I hope someday, you get sick of all this winning and let the rest of us do it," he joked.

All kidding aside, the theme of the night was the acknowledgement of Franchitti's new place in Indy history.

"You're a legend, in my opinion," fellow driver Ed Carpenter said. "You're up there with the all-time best, and it's an honor to work with you."

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  • Ashley Is Odd
    I remember when she called out Milka Duno for her driving at Chicagoland a few seasons back, as if Ashley was a motor racing authority. Two things truck me about that interview. One was that in her attempt to seem articulate and profound (i.e. of superior intelligence to all about) she came across as just what it was: Trying to be that way and impress while not being that way at all. At least it gave appearances. 2) Milka Duno, on the other hand, is highly intelligent and very well educated, much more so than Ashley by far. And minus the self-promoting, trying-to-convince-you bombast. Ashley would be no match for Milka.

    I also found her arrogant, pompous blithering nonsense about how drivers seek Dario's counsel and some even bare gifts as beyond the pale rediculous. Drivers exchange information, seek other opinions or suggestions, and buy things or meals or drinks for each otehr all the time. I guess in Ashley's bizarre, self-absorbed world that means a God-like reverence. Strange.

    And just today I read where she is claiming the 2012 Indy 400 was her 44th. She would have been a month old for her first one. I submit, B.S.

    I also submit she is a very strange, unpleasant, unappealing woman who, sadly, is foisted upon the world of IndyCar racing when just suck figures serve only to reinforce the image of the series as desperate and minor league.

    Maybe, ultimately, to that end, such a B-List celebrity of little note or contribution is the perfect match and we should be thankful she is there. But no, not possible. She is disliked because of the creepy person she is. The overwhelming boos I, too, heard at the Speedway last Sunday were directed at her, not her husband. It was painfully obvious.

  • Funny one...
    ...friend of mine who was a photographer at the Speedway 2007-2009 said he thought Dario was a good guy. But his wife? I'll never forget. Said her nickname with some fo the press guys was Ghastly Judd.

    I didn't get that at the time because I wasn't aware of her. After this past weekend, I can see how she earned that moniker.
  • Judd is a Dud
    I agree with Denny. Ashley Judd is way over the top and terribly annoying. Always seem to be about her. Fake classy, too.
  • Great Post Denny!!
    So well said - my thoughts exactly!!!
  • All About Ashley
    The trouble with Dario's three wins are that each time he went out and earned it, his wife took center stage before he could even complete his victory laps. Immediately she has been the center of attention each time. Fans don't attend the Indy 500 or watch on TV because Ashley Judd is there.

    For some reason the Speedway and/or ABC-TV must be under the impression a B-List actress of modest notoriety somehow "legitmizes"and/or "enhances" the Indy 500 as an important event that transcends sports and makes it all so much more special.

    Well, guess what? It already was special and has been for a hundred years now. It needs nobody from the world of arts to legitimize or enhance anything unless that person happens to be a beloved figure at the Speedway like Florence Henderson or Jim Nabors who have roles in the event. Or even Paul Newman who owned a team and was as much racer as actor. At least they were/are humble in their conduct at the Speedway and never let themselves transcend the event and make it about themselves.

    But then we come to Ashley Judd, a self-absorbed, narcisstic, pompous, bloviator of bombast, running all about as if she owned the place, in boney, pasty-looking barefeet, faux-humble sundress billowing in the breeze, obnoxious hat and sunglasses in place, all ready to spew to us again how much a gentleman her husband is, how all those who come in contact with him genuflect in humble reverence, and oh, by the way, how much he loved Jimmy Clark and how the man is looking down upon him, bestowing him as racing God.

    It is grossly over-the-top, completely irrelevant, and alienates the average, every day, ordinary Indy Car fan who just wants to see the winner drink the milk, wreath in place, say a few words of jubilation, and then let the rest take care of itself as fans reflect on what they just saw.

    The Indy 500 is not about Ashley Judd Or even her husband, three-time champion now, for that matter. It is about everyone there that day and all who went before. All special. Each unique. Individuals who love the Indy 500, win, lose, draw, watch, or work.

    Ashley Judd is the poster child for why celebrity, even B-list in her case, is so grotesque. So utterly grotesque.
  • Did Dario win?
    I could have sworn it was Ashley Judd. I think the reason so many Indy fans dislike Dario is because of his wife. I usually attend the race, but was forced to be out of town this year. Instead, I watched on TV. After the checkered flag, I do not want to see the wife of the driver. Sure, give her an interview later on, but it made me cringe when the majority of the post-race coverage was focused on her.

    I'm not sure if it's the Speedway or ABC to blame. I can't imagine IMS wants people to remember Ashley Judd over the rest of the race (the average Indy resident only knows that it was "Ashley Judd's husband" who won). If they want the 500 to return to it's glory, they need to start focusing on the race and not the mediocre celebrity wife of a driver.
  • not him again
    Dario may be a nice enough guy, but his win did nothing to help stoke more fan interest in the 500 or the series. When he, Scot Dixon and Will Power seem to be winning most of the time, fans lose interest. Too bad, Tony Kanaan didn't get the win. THEN fans would have been into cheering the winner. Or Marco, or Sato, or Carpenter, or a total dark horse like Simona. Even another Helio win would have been more popular.
  • The problem with Dario winning...
    ...is that as great and accomplished race car driver he is, the cat just does not resonate with most fans and certainly interlopers looking in. No matter how many muttonchop/hair-do styles he attempts, dogs he takes pictures with, and arrogant pontifications his odd-ball wife makes, it just doesn't stick. Dario is a legend now. But in statistics only. People just do not warm up up the man. I have never heard so mnay boos following an Indy 500 win. In fact, I have never heard them at all, save for Emerson one year when he knocked Al Unser Jr. out of the race. There boos then.

    There were so many boos after Sunday's race I would have thought it was just Ashley Judd running her rather average face again, but no, he was right there in the car with her, celebrating HER win.

  • Rough drivin' son of a
    Is it just me or is Dario simply IndyCar's golden boy? He purposely takes out Will Power @ Toronto last year, walls Newgarden @ Long Beach and he usually gets by Scot (pun intended) Free. He simply pinched Sato down, forcing a spin. He learned that from the best - Mario, in 1985. He did get a penalty last year, once. Which wasn't really a penalty at all. It simply allowed him to come in and get fresh tires. Until IndyCar treats him like everyone else, he will continue his rough driving tactics.
  • A legend???
    For winning under the yellow? Rick Mears is a legend, A.J. is a legend.

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