“I can’t quite believe what’s just happened,” said Franchitti, who won the race previously in 2007 and 2010, after finishing ahead of his Target Ganassi team-mate Scott Dixon. “At one stage, when I was back in last position, I thought the race had gone. But the great thing about motorsport is you never know what’s round the corner.”
Franchitti’s race had looked to be over when his car was hit from behind by KV Racing’s EJ Viso in the pitlane and spun while approaching his pit box.
But the Scot, who has also been crowned IndyCar champ three times, regrouped and slowly picked his way through the 33-car field.
Franchitti eased himself into the lead for the first time on lap 151 of the 200-lap race on the famous 2.5-mile superspeedway.
But there was further drama when, on the last lap, former F1 driver Takuma Sato got alongside Franchitti in the first corner of the final lap. The Japanese didn’t allow himself enough space, though, and he bounced off Franchitti’s car and into the wall.
The incident brought out the yellow caution flags and Franchitti drove unchallenged to the finish.
It was the Scot’s first win of the season. “To win this race once is a fantastic achievement,” he said. “But to win it twice, and then for a third time is really what dreams are made of. This year has been a difficult one for us. We’ve struggled with set-up and pace, but today everything came together for us.
“This is testament to all the hard work the guys in the Target Ganassi team have done throughout the year. We win together, and we lose together. Tonight I think we’ll party together.”