Dario Franchitti, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, ended his racing career after doctors told him it was too dangerous to return to the track following a crash last month that broke his back.
Franchitti, 40, said the advice from doctors who have been treating him for head and spinal injuries left him with “no choice but to stop” racing.
“They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long-term well-being,” Franchitti said in a statement released by his Target Chip Ganassi Racing team.
Franchitti ends his career with 31 Indy car wins, tying for eighth all-time, and 33 poles, sixth most in series history. He won four IndyCar Series season championships.
He was injured when his car went airborne after a collision and slammed into a metal safety fence during the final lap of the Houston Grand Prix. He fractured his spine and right ankle, and sustained a concussion.
Franchitti was awake and alert after the crash, which also sent an IndyCar official and two spectators to a hospital for evaluation.
The accident happened when Franchitti made contact with Takuma Sato’s car in Turn 5 of the 1.7-mile temporary track after the Japanese driver slid offline as his tires lost grip. Franchitti’s car was launched into the air and broke apart as it crashed into the fence, throwing debris onto the track and into the stands.
Part of the safety fence was ripped apart and IndyCar said 13 people were injured, with 11 treated at the scene.
Sato and driver E.J. Viso, who was also caught up in the crash, were evaluated at the scene and released.