Franchitti captures third IndyCar title

Dean McNulty, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:46 PM ET

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Dario Franchitti cashed in his pole position in the Cafes do Brasil 300 on Saturday night at Homestead Miami Speedway for an Izod IndyCar championship.

In doing so the Scot became only the second three-time champion in the current IndyCar era.

Sam Hornish Jr., who currently races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, won the championship in 2001, 2002 and 2006.

Franchitti brought his No. 10 Target Ganassi Racing Honda-powered Dallara across the finish line in eighth on Lap 200 to officially win the championship trophy but the victory was sealed sixty laps earlier when his only rival for top spot -- Australia's Will Power -- slammed into the wall in his No. 12 Penske Racing machine.

Franchitti was aggressive for the first 160 laps -- leading a race high 120 -- but once Power hit the wall on the 1.5 mile HMS oval he retreated to a conservative mode, just wanting to finish the race in the top 10 to conserve his crown.

"We had the car to win tonight but we just had to play it conservatively (after Power's mistake)," Franchitti said.

He said that there was a hair rasing moment with 25 laps to go when back marker Milka Duno spun out right in front of him.

"The 18 car crashed right in front of us and almost took us out," he said. "It was a little too action packed."

As for Power, he said that while he was disappointed at missing the championship he still felt that he proved this season he was worthy of being among the top IndyCar drivers.

He said it came down to mistakes -- who made them and who didn't.

"Right from the start of the season I thought that the guy who made the least amount of mistakes would win the championship and that's the way it played out," Power said.

For the record, Franchitti's Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon won the race with Danica Patrick second and Tony Kanaan third.

The only Canadian in the race, Alex Tagliani of Montreal, finished 14th in the No. 77 FAZZT Racing Dallara.


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