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Four-time IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti to end racing career

Four-time IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti to end racing career
Dario Franchitti poses with his dogs, Shug and Buttermilk, in a photo taken by his brother, Marino Franchitti, at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston on Oct. 10. (Marino Franchitti / Associated Press)

Four-time IndyCar series champion Dario Franchitti, citing doctors' advice after he was seriously hurt in a crash in October, said Thursday he is 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 at the end of a street race in Houston. His car went airborne and into a catchfence before crashing back onto the track. He suffered two spinal fractures, a concussion and a broken right ankle that required surgery.

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"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.

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Franchitti overall made 265 career IndyCar starts. His victories included the Indianapolis 500 in 2012.

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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.

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