Heeding doctors' advice after being seriously hurt in a crash last month, four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti said Thursday he's ending his racing career.
"Based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post-accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing," Franchitti said in a statement issued by his team, Target Chip Ganassi 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," he said.
Franchitti, 40, was injured Oct. 6 near the end of an IndyCar street race in Houston. His car went airborne into a catch-fence before crashing back onto the track. He suffered two spinal fractures, a concussion and a broken right ankle that required surgery.
"Hopefully in time, I'll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series," said Franchitti (pronounced Fran-kee-tee), a Scottish driver of Italian descent who will continue recovering in Scotland.
Franchitti overall made 265 career IndyCar starts. He was a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, most recently in 2012.
Tributes from Franchitti's peers poured in on Twitter. His teammate Scott Dixon, who won this year's IndyCar title, tweeted, "Amazing teammate and a legend in sport," and Juan Pablo Montoya tweeted that Franchitti "is a great friend and a great competitor and he is gonna [sic] be missed."
Franchitti's estranged wife is actress Ashley Judd; the couple said in January they were ending their marriage. However, Judd went to see Franchitti after his accident and thanked fans on Twitter for their support.