Franchitti Wins The 96th Indianapolis 500

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 27 2012

Dario Franchitti takes a milk shower after winning the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday. With him all the way, he said, was missing friend Dan Wheldon. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)


The big questions during the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway were: Where’s Ganassi and where’s Honda? After Sunday’s 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday, the answer was: Victory Circle.

Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi won the race, his teammate Scott Dixon was second and both cars were powered by Honda.

The win was No. 3 for Franchitti in the world’s most important race. It was his second in a row.

“This is Indy, man. Three times,” a tearful Franchitti said after the race.

The win came during a month in which he, his team and his engine supplier struggled to find speed and consistency. Dixon had qualified 15th and Franchitti 16th. But on the hot, slick track Sunday, they both quickly moved forward.

Not even being inexplicably spun on pit road by E.J. Viso and a last-place restart could keep Franchitti from winning.

“Super happy for him,” Dixon said of his teammate. “Super gutted” for not winning it himself.

Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology, who was looking for his first Indy victory, was third in a Chevrolet.

Oriol Servia of Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, was fourth and pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske was fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were James Hinchliffe, Justin Wilson, Charlie Kimball, Townsend Bell and

Takuma Sato spins and heads toward the wall as Dario Franchitti keeps the lead late in the race. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

three-time 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

Sato had the lead coming out of a caution with 48 laps to go. But less than half way through that lap, Sato was passed by Franchitti and then, quickly Dixon.

Six laps later, Dixon blew past his Ganassi teammate to take the lead.

With 37 laps to go, rookie Josef Newgarden stopped on the track to bring out the fifth caution of the race.

Dixon, Franchitti and Sato led the field to the restart green with 29 laps to go.

Franchitti and Dixon began exchanging the lead.

With 19 laps to go, Ed Carpenter, running top five, spun to bring out a caution. The caution laps alleviated fuel supply concerns and none of the contenders pitted.

On the restart, which came with 16 laps to go, Franchitti had the lead. On the restart, Kanaan made a bold move and took the lead but Franchitti quickly took it back. Kanaan went back to the lead with 13 laps to go. Just as that happened, Marco Andretti, who led much of the early part of the race, crashed coming out of Turn 1.

Kanaan had the lead on the restart with six laps to go. Behind him were Franchitti and Dixon. Then came Briscoe and Wilson.

The Ganassi cars jumped past Kanaan and spent the next three laps exchanging the lead. With two laps to go, Franchitti jumped Dixon for the lead and Sato followed him and into second place.

Coming out of Turn 2 on the final lap, Sato attempted to force a pass on the low side but there was no room. He lost control, slammed the outside wall and the race was over.

“It looked like he didn’t give me enough room,” Sato said.

It was not a good day to be driving a Lotus-powered car. Both of those – which were driven by Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro, were black flagged early in the race for not being able to keep the pace.

The IndyCar Series points leader, Team Penske’s Will Power, had his hopes for getting his first Indy 500 victory, were ended when he crashed into a spinning Mike Conway of A.J. Foyt’s team in the first half of the race.

Conway spun just after leaving the pits. During that stop, he came into his stall hot, locked up his breaks and hit two crew members. That impact with the crew member, broke the front wing and, Foyt said, caused the spin.

Another front runner, Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, lost his chance to win when a rear suspension part failed about 40 laps later.

Results Sunday of the 96th Indianapolis 500 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (16) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

2. (15) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

3. (8) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 200, Running

4. (27) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 200, Running

5. (1) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 200, Running

6. (2) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 200, Running

7. (21) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

8. (14) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

9. (20) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

10. (6) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 200, Running

11. (10) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 200, Running

12. (11) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

13. (12) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

14. (18) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 200, Running

15. (17) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

16. (23) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running

17. (19) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 199, Contact

18. (9) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 199, Running

19. (22) Michel Jourdain, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running

20. (25) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 199, Running

21. (28) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 199, Running

22. (30) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Chevy, 199, Running

23. (13) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Chevy, 190, Running

24. (4) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 187, Contact

25. (7) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 161, Mechanical

26. (24) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 143, Electrical

27. (3) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 123, Suspension

28. (5) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 79, Contact

29. (29) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 78, Contact

30. (31) Bryan Clauson, Dallara-Honda, 46, Mechanical

31. (26) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Honda, 42, Electrical

32. (32) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 10, Handling

33. (33) Jean Alesi, Dallara-Lotus, 9, Handling

Race Statistics

Winners average speed: 167.734

Time of Race: 02:58:51.2532

Margin of victory: Under Caution

Cautions: 8 for 39 laps

Lead changes: 34 among 10 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Hinchcliffe 1

Briscoe 2 – 4

Hinchcliffe 5 – 6

Briscoe 7 – 15

Hinchcliffe 16 – 17

Briscoe 18 – 19

Andretti 20 – 21

Briscoe 22

Andretti 23 – 44

Tagliani 45 – 46

Dixon 47

Kimball 48 – 49

Andretti 50 – 73

Dixon 74 – 78

Kimball 79

Andretti 80 – 90

Dixon 91 – 118

Sato 119 – 123

Barrichello 124 – 125

Sato 126 – 146

Dixon 147

Sato 148 – 152

Franchitti 153 – 159

Dixon 160

Franchitti 161 – 162

Dixon 163 – 171

Franchitti 172 – 173

Dixon 174 – 176

Franchitti 177

Dixon 178

Franchitti 179 – 186

Kanaan 187 – 193

Franchitti 194

Dixon 195 – 198

Franchitti 199 – 200

Point Standings: Power 200, Castroneves 164, Hinchcliffe 164, Dixon 153, Hunter-Reay 143, Franchitti 136, Pagenaud 136, Briscoe 128, Kanaan 113, Hildebrand 103.

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 27 2012
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