IRL: Indy 500: Race report

WHELDON CLAIMS VICTORY IN INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 29, 2005 -- Dan Wheldon became the first Englishman to win the Indianapolis 500 in nearly 40 years, winning the 89th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" with a late...

WHELDON CLAIMS VICTORY IN INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 29, 2005 -- Dan Wheldon became the first Englishman to win the Indianapolis 500 in nearly 40 years, winning the 89th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" with a late pass at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Wheldon, the IRL IndyCar® Series points leader, passed rookie Danica Patrick for the lead with six laps remaining in the 200-lap race to claim his fourth victory in five IndyCar Series starts.

When rookie Sebastien Bourdais made contact with the wall between Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 198, Wheldon clinched the biggest win of his racing career.

"This has been a dream come true for me," Wheldon said. "I've loved the Indianapolis 500 ever since I was a little kid in England. And you can see what a race it is. The best drivers in the world are here. The best teams in the world. I'm having an emotional moment. I'm just so glad. Thank you very much everybody. Thanks to the Hulman-George family for giving everybody this race. It's the best in the world. These fans make this race. So does Indianapolis. It's the best place in the world right now."

Vitor Meira finished second to match his career-best performance, while Bryan Herta finished third -- his best Indianapolis finish in four starts.

Patrick faded to fourth as she tried to conserve fuel, but still recorded the best finish by a woman at Indianapolis. 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier was fifth.

Patrick led 19 laps, becoming the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500. She led three times in the race, and took the lead for the final time on Lap 189 passing Wheldon on the frontstretch, in an attempt for a historic first victory.

Wheldon's win gave his car co-owner, Michael Andretti, his first victory at Indianapolis. Andretti was winless in 14 starts at Indianapolis as driver and retired following the 2003 Indianapolis 500, handing his seat to Wheldon.

"I never had a sip of (milk). I need a sip," said Andretti led 426 laps at Indinapolis -- most of any driver who never won the race. "I never tasted milk so good. It's awesome. What a day. Dan drove a hell of a race. I finally won the Indy 500. Oh, yeah. No more curse!"

Wheldon averaged 157.603 mph and covered the 500 miles in 3 hours, 10 minutes and 21.0769 seconds.

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Bombardier LearJet 500k on June 11 at the Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast by ESPN at 8:30 p.m. (EDT) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The race also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 "XM Extreme." The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Texas 100 on June 11 at the Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast by ESPN2 at 3 p.m. (EDT) on June 16.

-ims-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Michael Andretti , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Sébastien Bourdais , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira