Dario Dominates Indy for Honda's 100th IndyCar Series Victory Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti dominated the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, taking the lead on the opening lap and leading 155 laps en route to his ...
Dario Dominates Indy for Honda's 100th IndyCar Series Victory
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti dominated the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, taking the lead on the opening lap and leading 155 laps en route to his second "500" victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the last four years.
Today marked Honda's 100th IndyCar Series race victory, both in competition with other manufacturers from 2003-05 and as single supplier to the series since 2006.
For the fifth consecutive year, Honda powered the entire 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field, and for a record-extending fifth consecutive season - and the only five times in Indy 500 history - there was not a single engine failure in today's race. Over the two weeks of practice, qualifying and racing, drivers logged a total of 46,412.5 miles without loss of a single Honda Indy V-8 engine.
Starting on the outside of the front row, in third, Franchitti swept around the outside of fellow front row qualifiers Helio Castroneves and Will Power between the first and second turns at the start. Once in the lead, Franchitti was rarely headed during the majority of the 200-lap contest, run in near-record heat and humidity. Only in the last 10 laps was the issue in doubt, as all of the leaders were stretching their mileage to avoid having to make a pit stop for a splash of fuel.
On Lap 199, however, a spectacular crash in Turn 3 involving Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mike Conway and Ana Beatriz resulted in the race finishing under caution, insuring Franchitti's second Indy 500 triumph to go with his 2007 victory. Of the three drivers involved in the race-ending crash, only Conway was transported to a local hospital for treatment of suspected leg injuries.
Behind Franchitti, 2005 Indy winner Dan Wheldon completed a late-race charge to finish second, while Alex Lloyd gave the small Dale Coyne Racing team its best-ever '500' result, provisionally listed as third pending review of the running order when the caution flag came out on Lap 199 to end the race.
Tony Kanaan's chance for an historic last-to-first victory evaporated when he had to make a final stop for fuel on Lap 195. Until then, he was one of the Franchitti's strongest challengers, despite starting 33rd and last in the field after a pair of crashes during last weekend's qualifying runs.
The IZOD IndyCar Series continues its run of oval races next weekend, moving to the high banks of the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for the Firestone Indy 550k on Saturday night, June 5.
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 3rd, finished 1st, his second Indianapolis 500 victory: "What can I tell you? We tried our best in qualifying and came up a little short [for the pole]. But we continued to work very hard and on Carb Day and both of us [Franchitti and teammate Scott Dixon] were very happy. The car was a handful to drive today, but it was fast! I was looking good right up to the end, when we started having to save fuel and Tony [Kanaan] was catching us. I had a dream last night that TK and I were in a fight to the finish. When he finally pitted, that took a lot of pressure off. As it turned out, we had plenty of fuel, even enough for a burnout in pit lane at the end. They showed me a list of two-time winners the other night. Those guys are legends, I'm just a driver. When I came back to IndyCar in 2009, I never expected to win another championship or another 500. This is better than I could have ever hoped."
Dan Wheldon (#4 Panther Racing Honda) started 18th, finished 2nd, second-consecutive runner-up result for the 2005 race winner: "We were on the same strategy as Dario and, for once in my life, I was quite disciplined. I started saving fuel very early in the run, just saving it, and saving it. I don't know if we would have had enough for Dario in that final lap, but it would've been fun to find out. But we can't be too disappointed with the result, it was a great day for the entire Panther team. Thanks once again to Honda for the great engines we had throughout the weeks here."
Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race and Honda's historic 100th IndyCar Series race victory: "It was an exciting race today in front of a great crowd, the largest I've ever seen here. I'm extremely proud of the effort put forth by our associates at HPD and technical partner Ilmor for yet another year of record reliability, despite the very high temperatures today. It was very fitting that we posted our 100th IndyCar Series victory here at the home of IndyCar racing: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Congratulations to Dario Franchitti on his outstanding second '500' win and to the entire Target Chip Ganassi organization."