The 38-year-old Scot heads into the race leading the Penske of his only rival, Aussie Will Power, by 18 points after finishing second last time out in Kentucky.
But the Scot, who has won each of his three previous titles in final-race scenarios, is taking nothing for granted as he heeds into the showdown. Power can still be champion if he wins from pole and leads the most laps, with Franchitti lower than second.
The Kentucky turnaround came a fortnight after Power had taken the points lead with a second place at Motegi, where Franchitti triggered a multi-car collision in his Target Ganassi car. “It just shows how quickly things change. You never give up,” Franchitti said. “Until it’s mathematically impossible, you haven’t lost it or you haven’t won it.
“It’s certainly nicer than the position we were when we left Motegi, no doubt about it. So we’ll just go to Las Vegas with an open mind and see what comes of it.”
And the Scot stressed he would not be getting overwhelmed by the potential significance of winning another championship just yet. He has been champion in every IndyCar season he has contested since 2007 — his run only interrupted by his unsuccessful 2008 foray into Nascar.
“I suppose that’s something to think about when I retire and not really yet,” he said. “I’m not thinking about what’s happened before. I think if you get too distracted thinking, ‘Oh, man, three championships’, whatever, you’re losing focus.
“So I’m just thinking about Vegas now, what I have to do there to get number four. When I retire, I’ll think about things in that wider picture.”