Four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti on Thursday held his first news conference since he suffered serious injuries in a career-ending crash in October.
"Sorry I haven't been in a position to chat any earlier," said Franchitti, 40, who also is a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
"Thank you, really, to everybody for all the kind wishes," he said. "It's been so nice to know that I was appreciated."
Franchitti (pronounced Fran-kee-tee), a Scottish driver of Italian descent, was injured Oct. 6 in an IndyCar street race in Houston. His car went airborne and into a catch fence before crashing back onto the track.
He suffered a concussion, two spinal fractures and a broken right ankle that required surgery. Franchitti walked in on crutches for his news conference, held at the Indianapolis headquarters of his team, Chip Ganassi Racing.
A month ago, Franchitti announced that, based on doctors' advice, he was ending his driving career to avoid risking further injury.
"I'm not going to go into the whole ins and outs of the concussion," he said, but added that "the last three weeks there's been a big improvement. I couldn't have done this three weeks ago."
Franchitti, who hopes to stay involved in IndyCar racing in some other capacity, said that "rather than being kind of bummed" about not driving anymore, he was "very thankful ... for the racing I was able to do."
Veteran driver Tony Kanaan, a close friend of Franchitti's, will take over the driving duties of Franchitti's No. 10 car next year. Kanaan won this year's Indianapolis 500.