It was a weekend of conflicting fortunes for the Franchitti brothers from Bathgate. While younger brother Marino was powering his Porsche to victory in Germany, 34-year-old Dario fractured his ankle in Talladega.
The 2007 IndyCar champ and Indy500 winner will be out of Nascar action for a few weeks after fracturing his ankle in the latest round of the Nationwide Series, the Aaron’s 312 at the 2.6-mile Talladega Superspeedway.
Just 10 laps into the race, the Scot’s Ganassi Dodge was sent spinning into the wall at 180mph after it suffered a puncture. The impact spat him back into the track where Larry Gunselman’s Chevrolet ploughed into the driver’s side of Franchitti’s stricken racer.
The Scot, who had qualified fourth for Saturday’s race, was taken to hospital after preliminary checks in the infield care centre.
The timing of the injury couldn’t be more frustrating for Franchitti who, having missed the last couple of Sprint Cup races, had qualified 43rd for the Aaron’s 499 race today (Sun) but was obviously ruled out by his injury.
American Tony Stewart, who started from pole position, went on to win the Aaron’s 312 in dominant fashion leading 80 out of the 117 laps. It was his first ever win at the 2.6-mile oval and pushed Dale Earnhardt Jr down to second.
There was better news though for Marino. The 29-year-old powered his Porsche 997 GT3 RSR to overall victory in the latest round of the VLN Championship at the Nordschliefe in Germany, the original 15-mile Nurburgring circuit.
Partnered by Frank Stippler, who qualified their car on pole with a lap of 8mins 19.798secs, Franchitti led the 210-car grid through his middle stage of the four-hour race before the German brought the car home, one-and-a-half minutes ahead of the second-placed car.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Marino admitted. This is an incredible track, it was a huge amount of fun and I can’t wait to return here next month for the 24-hour race.”