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IndyCar: Dario Franchitti is enjoying retirement at the Indianapolis 500

From press release

Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti was forced to retire from IndyCar racing last November for medical reasons, but he is making the most of his new situation.

He says not being able to take part in the race this year is not so bad.

"Because my job was always to block out whatever was going on and to focus on the race, this year I'm going to be able to soak it all in and I'm really looking forward to that actually," he said.

Watching from the sidelines even made him realize he was ready for retirement.

"I'm fairly at peace with the fact I'm not in the car. I also realize that I'm not sure I would have the commitment level anymore to do what's required here, or any track. It's a certain mind-set you've got to have," he added.

"The crazy things that you saw the guys do on the Fast Nine (Shootout) last Sunday (in qualifications) is normal for drivers. And it doesn't feel normal for me anymore; therefore I shouldn't be a driver anymore."

Dario Franchitti, Chevrolet Camara Z28 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indy 500
Dario Franchitti, Chevrolet Camara Z28 (Photo: IndyCar.com)

As a retiree, Franchitti got to drive the pace car today, leading the field to the green flag of the Indianapolis 500. 24 hours before the start, he had the chance to take his parents around the track in the pace car, a Chevrolet Camaro Z28.

"(My mom) was having a great time," he said.

"I think my dad was a little -- I think it was close to his threshold of what he wanted to experience on the second lap. He was quite happy. So that was great. It was really so much fun, too, anytime you get to drive around here."