Social Media
 
Picture
Dario Franchitti stamped his name in the record books, the latest three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.

But this was not about Franchitti: It was all for Dan Wheldon.

Franchitti won a wheel-to-wheel, last-lap battle Sunday with Takuma Sato, their tires briefly touching to send Sato spinning hard into the wall. Franchitti sailed away to the checkered flag, with Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon crossing the finish line right behind the Scotsman.

Third went to Tony Kanaan, making it a podium sweep for Wheldon's three closest friends in the IndyCar series. Wheldon, the defending race winner and a two-time champ, was killed in the October season finale, and the entire day was in honor of D-dub, their fallen friend.

''Everybody up there was a friend of Dan's, and that about sums it up. Everybody loved him,'' said Franchitti as bagpipes played over the public address system.

''What a race! What a race!'' Franchitti said. ''I think D-dub would be proud of that one.''

Kanaan, who used a bold move on a late restart to dart from fifth to first, couldn't hold off Franchitti and Dixon on the last restart. It left him winless in 11 career attempts at Indy, but he was OK with the final result.

''Actually it was good for Dan, his three best friends fighting for the win,'' Kanaan said. ''Danny, wherever he is right now, I think he's extremely happy. His three best friends in the top three.''

Wheldon's wife, Susie, went to Victory Lane to congratulate Franchitti, who hid his tears of joy behind a pair of white sunglasses worn in tribute because they were Wheldon's preference. She then sat next to Franchitti's wife, actress Ashley Judd, in the backseat of the convertible - the same seat she had a year ago for Wheldon's win - for the victory lap around the 2.5-mile oval.

The entire day was a tribute to Wheldon, beginning with car owner Bryan Herta driving a single parade lap around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the car Wheldon drove to victory last year. Fans were given white sunglasses to wear on laps 26 and 98, marking the car numbers Wheldon used in his two wins.

It was Susie Wheldon's first trip to any race track since her husband's Oct. 16 death, and she watched from Dixon's pit stand with his wife, Emma. It was the Dixons who relocated after the accident to St. Petersburg, Fla., to provide comfort and support for Susie and her two sons in the months after the accident.

So it was fitting on this hot day - the temperature hit 91 degrees, just one shy of the Indy 500 record - that one of the most competitive races in history ended with a frantic push from Wheldon's friends. Ten drivers swapped the lead 35 times, shattering the record of 29 in the 1960 race won by Jim Rathmann.

Until the last lap, when Sato made his move for the win, the race was close but uneventful.

The only multi-car accident came when a spin by Mike Conway collected Will Power, who came into the race as the series points leader and winner of the last three races this season. It was a somewhat frightening accident as Conway, who broke his front wing when he hit one of his crew members on pit road, hit the outside wall and his car tilted on its side before coming to rest. And Helio Castroneves had to deftly maneuver past a bouncing tire that still grazed one of his own wheels.

Besides that, though, the race was slowed by just eight cautions - including the one on the last lap - for 39 of the 200 laps.

Marco Andretti, who went into Sunday believing the race ''is mine to lose,'' was strong at the start, but a series of adjustments were not to his liking and he unraveled on his team radio before spinning to bring out the final caution with 13 laps remaining.

Franchitti and Dixon battled back and forth in the final third of the race, with Sato consistently in the mix. Then came Kanaan, from nowhere it seemed, but he was unable to hang on to the lead on the restart after Marco Andretti's crash brought out the yellow with 13 laps to go.

Andretti said the wreck ''definitely rang my bell.''

Everyone thought the race would go to a Chevrolet driver for either Andretti Autosport or Penske Racing, which won the first four races of the season and swept the front two rows in qualifying. But in the end, it was three Hondas fighting for their first win of the season.

After the restart with six laps remaining, Franchitti pulled past Dixon for the final time. Sato went with him and slid in front of Dixon to split the Ganassi teammates. The Japanese then went for the lead going into the first turn, pulling even with Franchitti. But he went in too low, the cars touched, and the crash sent him into the outside wall.

''It looks like he didn't give me enough room to go there,'' Sato said. ''I was a little below the white line. I had nowhere to go.''

Sato's car barely missed Franchitti, who coasted across the line under a yellow caution flag to become the 10th driver to win at least three Indy 500s. All three of Franchitti's wins have ended under caution.

This was the second year in a row that a crash on the final lap affected the outcome. In 2011, rookie JR Hildebrand was leading going into the final turn when his car slammed into the wall, allowing Wheldon to cruise past and take the checkered flag.

''I was side by side with Takuma,'' Franchitti said. ''We hit and I managed to keep it out of trouble.''

It snaps a disappointing start to the season for Franchitti, who has won the last three championships but seemed stumped by IndyCar's new car through the first four races. In breaking out Sunday for his 31st victory, he's now in a tie with Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy on the all-time wins list.





Leave a Reply.


Rain moves nascar daytona 500 under the lights, nfl combine news,Nhl 3-10-12 scores, Nba 3-10-12 scores,Breaking News: Peyton Manning picks Broncos,,CB Aaron Ross to go with Jaguars,,Saints' Payton banned one year for bounties,,Ex-Giants RB Jacobs agrees to one-year deal with 49ers ,,Fla. prosecutor drops Manny Ramirez battery charge ,Elliott Sadler won’t run Texas Cup race, hopes to add more events for RCR Bill Parcells staying retired , Ex-teammate: Odom has options Sources: Bengals add ex-Dallas CB Newman NHL Schedule playoffs All-Pro LT Jason Peters out for season , Patriots re-sign WR Branch, add 2 free agent FBs , NFL concussion lawsuits keep adding former players, Knicks' Jeremy Lin out vs. Hawks, Waltrip adds 2 road courses to Vickers' slate, Payton to appeal 1-year suspension, Tim Tebow is in high demand with Nike & now Nike is suing Reebok Dallas Cowboys CB Mike ,Jenkins is Gonna Cost Some Money, ,Live Updates World Of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Knoxville 4-28 race, World of Outlaws Return to Calistoga on Sunday, Sept. 9, ,NBA 1st rd Playoffs Schedule - Apr 28, 2012 - May 4, 2012, ,2nd rd NHL Playoffs ( Apr 27, 2012 - May 3, 2012) Schedule, Rose injured late as Bulls beat 76ers 103-91, Redskins draft another QB, ,UPDATED NASCAR Nationwide standing, ,Nationwide @ Richmond 4-27-12 Virginia 529 College Savings 250 results, Junior leads Happy Hour at RIR, ,SPRINT CUP SERIES LINEUP FOR RICHMOND NIGHT RACE TONIGHT, Jets acquire Tebow for two draft picks, QB Smith returns to 49ers with three-year deal, Former Jaguars QB Garrard signs with Dolphins, Bristol owner Smith eyes $1M in track changes to make a 3 line track, Breaking News: Broncos & Manning reach deal - details inside, ,NHL Playoff 2012 first round series wins, ,Denny Hamlin holds off Martin Truex Jr. to win at Kansas, Kasey Kahne to use Kevin Hamlin on Sunday, his third different spotter, Falcons decline to be on 'Hard Knocks', STEELERS WR WALLACE WON'T SIGN 'UNTIL HE HAS TO', Philip Humber throws 21st perfect game in MLB history, Flyers beat Penguins 5-1 to win series, Blues beat Sharks 3-1 to win series, Senators top Rangers 2-0, take 3-2 series lead, ,Nascar Sprint Cup Series standings 8-36 races, ,Nascar Spring Cup Series : 2012 Unofficial Race Results : STP 400, Breaking News: Hines Ward retires from the NFL, Derek Holland signs 5-year deal signs with rangers , Dallas Cowboys release Kyle Kosier, Matt Flynn, Seahawks agree to deal, Manning introduced as Broncos' new QB , Penalties lifted against Johnson racing team, Dale Jr. takes blame for Gordon's wreck, mlb news (drugs involed),3-16-12 NHL scores, 3-16-12 NBA scores,Latest NASCAR Nationwide standing,,Rex Grossman returns to Redskins with 1-year deal,,49ers look like serious player in Manning pursuit, Derek Fisher reaches buyout with Rocket, 49ers, WR Mario Manningham agree on 2-year deal, San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith visiting Dolphins, Elliott Sadler wins at Bristol in Nationwide series, nascar nationwide at bristol 3-17-2012 results, 3-17-12 - 3-23-12 NBA schedule, 3-17-12 - 3-22-12 nhl schedule , 3-16-12 scores for march madness, nhl deadline news,,BREAKING NEWS: Randy Moss signs with NFL team,New faces with new jersey numbers for Dallas cowboys,,Sprint Cup RACE LINEUP for Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway ( 3-18-12), Biffle wins pole at Bristol, future plans for Peyton manning, Peyton manning worked out for 49ers, Vickers has perspective on time out of race car , Dallas cowboys signs a guard to a 5 year contract - details, march madness 3-15-12 results, more in depth look to the 2013 dodge charger, Breaking News: Payton Manning will work out for the broncos today , Breaking News: Mario Williams signs with the bills, Breaking News: Daytona motor speedway to get repaved again, sports news,,Nascar Sprint Cup Series Las Vegas 3-11-12 results,Breaking News : dolphins trade Brandon Marshall to bears for 2 3round picks, New Orleans saints resign Marques Colston , Dodge unveils 2013 new car at Vegas, Dallas cowboys release to big players - details inside, Tennessee titans meet with a guard over payton manning ?, ,Nascar Sprint Cup Series standings,steelers tender offers to mike Wallace & other players, Crew Chief Chad Knaus Says he's an innovator, Redskins & cowboys make some serious salary cup cuts, RG3 should help redskins - details inside, Daytona 500 results for 2012, seattle seahawls player has a divorce that gonna cost him $500,000, breaking news: Oprah Winfrey lands a interview with Whitney Houston daughter, ufc on fx 2: alves vs kampmann total gate & attendance, ufc on fx 2: alves vs kampmann post fight bonuses, Video: UFC on FX: Martin Kampmann Post-fight Interview, Video: Thiago Alves On Loss To Martin Kampmann:, Video: Constantinos Philippou Enjoys His Victory Over McGee ufc on fx 2: alves vs kampmann video's, Breaking news: scoring error at ufc on fx 2: alves vs kampmann, Video: Strikeforce - Tate vs. Rousey Weigh-Ins,nascar nation wide series at phoenix 3-3-12 recap, nascar sprint cup series at phoenix 3-4-12 recap, Video: Highlights From Miesha Tate-Ronda Rousey Title Fight At 'Strikeforce: Tate Vs. Rousey', dana white goes off on strikeforce management, comment's from the new strikeforce champion , josh barnett vs daniel cormier finally set , strikeforce: tate vs rousey results ,strikeforce: tate vs rousey rating , ufc on fx 2 rating are in , video: Dana White talks Mayweather/Pacquiao "shut the F*** up & fight, split the money, just do it", dana white says winner of diaz - miller could be contender fight , rampage jackson this next fight is my last ,breaking news: Payton manning & Indianapolis will part ways, new orleans saints gm says it's my fault – details, randy moss works out for the new orleans saints today !,Nascar sprint cup at phoenix recap with results 2012, Nascar nationwide reacap with results 2012, Payton Manning meet's with Denver broncos, new giants release rb Brandon Jacobs, Indianapolis colts release 5 huge names ?, daytona nationwide winner,,NASCAR news: kyle Busch wrecks at Vegas , nationwide series pole winner,,Nascar Sprint Cup Series pole winner AT Las Vegas for the Sunday, Dale Earnhardt jr owner of the Juan Pablo Montoya wrecked Daytona 500 car, New York jets extend mark Sanchez contract, #1 Baylor stays perfect & wins big 12 title win, ,Nascar Sprint cup Series raceing qualifying results for las Vegas, Familiar colors coming to Kansas Speedway , Coyotes' Torres suspended 25 games for Hossa hit , Penguins beat Flyers 3-2 to force Game 6 , Predators' 1st NHL team to advance this postseason , NBA union leadership wants Fisher out as president , who leads final practice at Kansas - find out, Kansas Speedway lobbying for night race for next season, Nascar nationwide qualifying results for las Vegas ,,NASCAR nationwide results las Vegas - 3-10- 2012,,Arena football league issued a statement on work stoppage,,Pit Strategy could be a fact for NASCAR today at las Vegas,