Dario Franchitti: Scots race ace in horror crash

Dario Franchitti is removed from his car by marshalls. Picture: AP
Dario Franchitti is removed from his car by marshalls. Picture: AP
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Scottish racing driver Dario Franchitti has fractured his spine in a high-speed crash in the United States.

He collided with another car on the final lap of a race in Texas and was sent crashing into the track wall, sending his vehicle flying into the air.

Picture: AP

Picture: AP

Franchitti, originally from Bathgate, West Lothian, was taken to hospital with fractures in his spine, which doctors said would not require surgery. He also suffered concussion and a broken right ankle.

Debris from the accident flew over the track fencing, reportedly injuring several spectators.

After the race on Sunday night, IndyCar released a statement on Twitter confirming Franchitti had been awake on his arrival at hospital.

It read: “Dario Franchitti was admitted awake and alert to Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Centre in Houston for a concussion, spinal fracture that will require no surgery and a fracture to the right ankle. He will be kept overnight.”

Franchitti married actress Ashley Judd in 2001 but they separated earlier this year. She tweeted that she was on her way to Houston to see him.

She wrote: “Thank you for the prayers for @dariofranchitti I have only clothes on my back & the dogs but that’s all that we need & we are on our way.”

His brother Marino, who is also a racing driver, was heading to the hospital too.

On Twitter, he said: “Thanks for all the kind messages. Hope everyone in the crowd is OK, sounded awful.”

Franchitti, 40, raced in Britain at the start of his career and moved to the US in 1997, where he has won the IndyCar series four times. He has taken the famous Indianapolis 500 race three times.

On Sunday, he collided with fellow driver Takuma Sato on the final lap, sending his car into the air and destroying much of the front of the vehicle.

Sato was uninjured and after the race, he said: “On the last lap, I caught the marbles [pieces of rubber from car tyres] and brushed the wall and lost momentum. A couple cars passed me as I was off-line and in turn five. I got very loose and Dario and I came together.”

The race was won by Australian Will Power, who said: “It just looked bad. I hate seeing that, I just hate it. I just hope he’s okay.”

Scott Dixon, who finished second, said: “Nobody ever wants to see somebody get hurt, so thoughts are with everybody that’s involved in that accident and hopefully we’ll be able see Dario here shortly.”

The crash comes almost two years after British driver Dan Wheldon died in a 15-car crash in the Las Vegas Indy 300 race.

Dixon, Franchitti’s Ganassi Racing team-mate, said the crash sites in Las Vegas and Houston were similar.

“It’s the smells and the visuals,” he said. “There was nowhere near the amount of damage that we saw [in Las Vegas], but seeing the replay, I think, was the big shock.”

Franchitti’s cousin, Formula 1 driver Paul Di Resta, was also involved in an accident on Sunday, at the Korean Grand Prix. He crashed his Force India car but wasn’t injured.