IndyCar: Wheldon loses NASCAR seat to Franchitti

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarSunday, September 9th, 2007

 
 

IndyCar fans could be about to lose a British driver to another series with an announcement expected that Dario Franchitti will be moving across to NASCAR.

The Scot has had a storming season driving for Andretti Green racing – but has run into trouble recently after clashing with owner Michael Andretti over several issues, including the behaviour of his son, Franchitti’s co-driver Marco.

Franchitti is currently in a three-way battle for the season title – a victory that would win him a $1 million bonus. Speculation about NASCAR has therefore been deflected until this battle is resolved.

However, when it’s all decided, an announcement is expected over his signing for Chip Ganassi Racing.

There he will partner former Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya in the Nextel Cup team. He is likely to be replacing the team’s existing driver David Stremme.

All well and good. Only one detail of this made us raise our eyebrows.

Regular readers may recall that Chip Ganassi’s IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon had his heart set on that seat.

Team boss Chip Ganassi was not to be moved, however. Wheldon said last month that he had tried to persuade his boss to let him move – but had been rebuffed.

He said at the time: “It’s not a difference of opinion, it’s just a difference of timing. He doesn’t really say why, but he thinks I should stay in IndyCar racing.”

Well, now we know why.

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