Franchitti returns to Indianapolis to await second ankle surgery

Dario Franchitti was released from a Houston hospital Thursday. (Photo: Marino Franchitti)

IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti has been released from a Houston hospital after a frightening crash this weekend.

Franchitti arrived at Indianapolis International Airport at about 7:30 pm Thursday. He is preparing for another surgery on his ankle.

Franchitti's brother, Marino, posted a picture of the injured driver smiling in the hospital lobby. The three-time Indianapolis 500 champion was using a walker for support and had a cast on his right leg, as well as a brace around his chest. He was joined in the picture by his two dogs.

He was injured in a last-lap crash at the Grand Prix of Houston Sunday, when he made contact with Takuma Sato and catapulted into the catch fence. He suffered a fractured ankle, two fractured vertebrae and a concussion in the crash.

"I'm overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and I'm thankful to have such a great family and such wonderful friends and fans. Thanks to everyone at the hospital and the track who took such good care of me during my stay in Houston. I look forward to watching Scott (Dixon), Alex (Tagliani) and the Target team next weekend on television and will be pulling for them as they go for another championship," Franchitti said Thursday.

Tagliani will take over his ride for the season-ending MAVTV 500 on October 19.