When you grow up in Indiana as I did and move out of the state, the first Memorial Day weekend comes as a shock. That’s when you realize that to listen to the Indy 500 someone has to turn on an actual radio or TV.
In Indiana it’s in the air. You can walk down any street, enjoy the smells of barbecue and not miss any of the race.
But he takes his achievements in stride with graciousness and humility.
"I don’t have their talent. I just work hard and I’m lucky to have a great team."
He shared the press conference following the race with Bullseye, the mascot of Target, his major sponsor. After a few snuggles and doggie kisses with her, Franchitti said, “When my dog sees these pictures, she’s gonna be pissed.”
Following some introductory barks, Bullseye sat perfectly still during the session as if to say, “How fascinating you are.” The driver was the man of the hour, but he let the dog steal the show.
The race could have been lost on Lap 15 when Franchitti's car was accidentally rear ended during a pit stop. The crew had to readjust the wings. When he returned to the track he was in 28th place. There are only 33 places.
But during the afternoon he continued to move up, finally taking the checkered flag on the final lap after Takuma Sato spun out trying to pass him.
"I don't have any expectations," he said. "I just go out and do the best job I can. I don't go into it thinking, 'I'm going to win this one.' You've got to let the race come to you. That's what I do."