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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Franchitti's rants good for IndyCar Series

June 20, 2011
KEYWORDS Sports Business

While I’m not sure Dario Franchitti’s semi-dominance is all that good for the IndyCar Series, his emergence as an outspoken personality is.

Last week in Texas, Franchitti complained loudly during a television broadcast that the blind draw for the second race at Texas Motor Speedway was garbage.

During his post-race TV interview Sunday in Milwaukee, while complimenting Tony Kanaan on the way he raced, the Scotsman derided Helio Castroneves for blocking.

“Helio I guess jumped us on the pit stop … then preceded to block on the re-start as usual,” Franchitti said. “Typical Helio.”

Franchitti would have raged longer, had the ABC telecast not cut away.

Franchitti inherited the lead with 25 laps to go when Castroneves was forced into the pits with a left rear tire pressure problem. Castroneves finished ninth. Franchitti told media members after the race that Castroneves got what he deserved.

In a series where the drivers are often vanilla and unwilling to speak their mind publicly, it’s refreshing to hear Franchitti’s candor. Race fans can only hope the series may actually develop some rivalries to spice things up.

Things seem to be heating up between Franchitti and Castroneves. After the race, Franchitti indicated that Castroneves is a habitual offender and has been warned before.

It feels like piling on to write about attendance at Sunday’s IndyCar Series race in Milwaukee. But it was hard not to miss all those empty seats on ABC’s national telecast.

Estimated attendance was 13,000, and that might be generous. The two-for-one ticket deal offered in the days before the race apparently came too late to make much of a difference. But it was the first major motorsports event at the Milwaukee Mile in two years, and IndyCar officials (at least some of them) still think they can build an audience in this once race-crazy town.

On the upside, there were 26 cars on the grid. Remember, not too long ago there was talk of not having a 33-strong grid for Indianapolis, and fields for other racer were flirting in the 20 range.
 

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