Bathgate’s Dario Franchitti enters the two-week break before the final six-race sprint to the end of the season knowing he has to overhaul a 50-point gap if he is to claim back-to-back IndyCar Championships.
The 37-year-old Scot finished third in the latest round at Edmonton in Canada which finished under controversial circumstances. Franchitti’s Ganassi team-mate Scott Dixon was awarded victory after Helio Castroneves was penalised for blocking.
With three of the scheduled 95 laps remaining, Castroneves led his Penske team-mate and championship leader Will Power when the race restarted after a final yellow-flag caution.
But as the two lead cars dashed for the tight right-hander at Turn 1, the Brazilian took the inside line forcing Power to drive wide and allowing Dixon to slip past the Aussie into second.
As Castroneves raced across the finish line, the chequered flag remained unfurled only to be waved seconds later for Power, followed by Power and Franchitti. The Brazilian was incensed when he climbed out of his Penske car.
Before launching a tirade of colourful adjectives, Castroneves confronted the flag man at the finishing post, IndyCar technical director Kevin Blanch, and then grabbed security director Charles Burns by the collar.
IndyCar official adjudged Castroneves of unfairly blocking his team-mate and slapped a retrospective drive-through penalty on him dropping him to 10th. Franchitti meanwhile admitted he needs a strong finish to the season to bag this third IndyCar title.
“Six races to go and I’ve got quite a gap to close,” the Scot, who is 21 points ahead of his Kiwi team-mate in third, explained. “The Penske guys have been fast over the last few races and we’ve definitely got to do something to get closer.
“The six races which finish the race have generally been good to me, and I’ve definitely got to start winning again. It’s great to have the Indy500 win under my belt already this season, but I’d really love to do the double and take the championship too.”