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Champion Franchitti staying with IndyCar

From Terry Baddoo, CNN
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Life as a motorsport legend
  • IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti not interested in NASCAR or Formula One
  • The Scot has won the open-wheel series' championship three times since 2007
  • The 37-year-old driver has also won the famous Indianapolis 500 race twice
  • He started this season with victory in the opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida

(CNN) -- British racing driver Dario Franchitti has ruled out making a switch to Formula One or NASCAR, telling CNN that he "loves" driving in the IndyCar series where he is the two-time defending champion.

The 37-year-old had a spell in NASCAR in 2008, which resulted in a broken ankle, while his cousin Paul di Resta recently made his Formula One debut for Force India at the Australian Grand Prix.

But when asked if he had a desire to leave IndyCar, Franchitti said: "No, I tried NASCAR for a six-month stretch and it didn't work out so well -- a broken ankle, no sponsor."

Franchitti, currently with the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team and twice a winner of the legendary Indianapolis 500 race, won his third drivers' title in 2010 in the open-wheel vehicle division -- which features similar cars to the elite class F1.

"IndyCar is what I love doing. Ten years ago I had the chance to do Formula One, but never in a front-running team. That was very important to me, that I always had the chance to win," the Scot said.

IndyCar is what I love doing ... I had the chance to do Formula One, but never in a front-running team
--Dario Franchitti

"Here, with Team Target, I do have the chance to do that."

The 2011 series will see the 100th edition of the 200-lap Indianapolis 500 race on May 29, and Franchitti is eager to defend his title.

"Indianapolis is a huge event anyway," he said. "It's still the biggest race in the world, but the fact it's the centennial of the track is going to add something special to it.

"Any race is tough to win, but I've been doing Indianapolis long enough to know you can only put yourself in the best position possible and then see what happens.

"Any time you think you've got that race won something comes out of the side and manages to put a spanner in the works."

More than 250,000 fans are able to take to the stands to watch the jewel in IndyCar's crown, but Franchitti said the drivers must remain focused to stand any chance of victory.

"You can't help but be affected by all the introductions, all the history and the way they do everything before the start of the race, and the fact there's 350,000 people sitting there ready to watch.

"I love the part when I can get in the car, put my helmet on, it all goes quiet, and then it is just a race like any other."

The veteran, who claimed victory in the opening race of the 2011 series in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 27, can recall how he felt when he captured his first Indy 500 crown in 2007.

"Wet, it rained! It was an amazing feeling. It was one of the ambitions of my life to win that race. It took months to actually realize what I'd achieved. It wasn't that immediate feeling of satisfaction, it took a long time."