Three-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti survived a severe crash in the final lap of Sunday’s Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race Two. [Continued below the break]
Franchitti, driving for Target Ganassi, was entering the very fast Turn Five when Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato slid wide in front of Franchitti. The Target Ganassi driver’s car struck Sato and launched into the catch fencing above the restraining wall on the outside of the turn.
Franchitti’s car his with such force it tore loose a section of the fence and sent it spinning over the crowd, while the car spun along the remaining fencing, shredding itself into a storm of metal and carbon fiber, much of which fell on the crowd a few dozen feet away.
When safety crew members reached Franchitti’s car they found the 40-year-old Scottish driver conscious but in pain. Franchitti was sent directly to a nearby hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion, two broken vertebrae, and a broken right ankle. He underwent surgery for his ankle Monday morning; his spine should heal without an operation.
Sato’s car was then rammed by Andretti Autosport driver E.J. Viso, who was trying to maneuver through the wreckage. Neither driver was hurt.
“On the last lap I caught the marbles and brushed the wall and lost momentum,” Sato told IndyCar.com. “A couple cars passed me as I was offline and in Turn 5. I got very loose and Dario and I came together.”
Thirteen fans were injured by falling debris. Three were hospitalized and are in good condition, the rest were treated at the scene and released.