IRL: Indy500: Race day notes

Notes from the 85th Running of the Indianapolis 500: Helio Castroneves is the 11th rookie to win the Indianapolis 500. Juan Montoya won the race as a rookie last year. Rookies last won the race in consecutive years in 1927 and 1928 with Frank...

Notes from the 85th Running of the Indianapolis 500:

Helio Castroneves is the 11th rookie to win the Indianapolis 500. Juan Montoya won the race as a rookie last year. Rookies last won the race in consecutive years in 1927 and 1928 with Frank Lockhart and George Souders respectively.

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Although Roger Penske has won 11 Indy 500s, today was the team's first 500 victory on Firestone tires. Firestone has now been victorious in 52 of the 65 Indy 500s in which it has competed. All of Helio Castroneves' five open wheel victories have come on Firestone tires.

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Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp, wife of rock singer John Mellencamp, drove the 2001 Oldsmobile Bravada Pace Vehicle, leading the field of 33 starters to the green flag. Once the race was underway, Don Bailey was the driver with Jim Haynes as Pace Car observer.

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Although today's race was interrupted twice for rain, the full 200-laps were completed. The race can be declared official when more than half the distance has been completed. The last time the race was shortened due to rain was in 1976 with Johnny Rutherford taking the victory after completing 102 laps.

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Richie Hearn was on call in the Target Chip Ganassi Racing pits this afternoon. If the race was delayed by rain, Hearn was slated as a substitute driver for Tony Stewart. When the race was red flagged at lap 155, Stewart complained of leg cramps, leading to speculation that Hearn would replace Stewart when the race resumed. "I'm okay," said Stewart. "I couldn't get off the throttle a couple of times. I thought the throttle was sticking, but it was my leg."

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Jaques Lazier will continue his association with Team Xtreme through the next two Indy Racing Northern Light events at Texas and Pikes Peak. "I am excited to run with Airton (Dare) and Team Xtreme for the next two races," said Lazier. "We have all ready learned so much from each other as drivers and we both did very well in last season's Texas Motor Speedway race."

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Walker Racing announced the launch of their new website, www.walkerracing.com. New to the site is a 360-degree view of the team's spacious shop, which houses the team's transporters in addition to all their racing machinery.

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When Michael Andretti took the lead on lap 49 he became the eighth different driver in the history of the Indianapolis 500 to lead the 500 in three different decades. Others who have achieved the same feat include Ralph Hepburn, Mauri Rose, Bobby Unser, A. J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti and Al Unser.

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On lap 110, Gil de Ferran took the lead, putting a Penske-owned car out front in the Indy 500 for the first time since 1994. Penske teammates Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi combined to lead all but seven laps in 1994 Indy 500.

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Michael Andretti led 12 laps today, increasing his total number of laps led at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to 398. Andretti has led more laps at Indy than any other driver who is winless at the Speedway.

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Rookie driver Felipe Giaffone finished tenth after starting 33rd. Giaffone, who has posted top-ten finishes all four Indy Racing Northern Light Series events this season, is currently third in championship point standings.

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The Indy Racing Northern Light Series moves to Texas Motor Speedway for round five in the series on June 9. Texas Motor Speedway hosts wheel to wheel racing at speeds that test the limits of human capabilities.

--Motorsport.com staff

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Felipe Giaffone , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jaques Lazier  , Richie Hearn , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Don Bailey , Roger Penske , Johnny Rutherford , Al Unser
Teams Team Xtreme , Chip Ganassi Racing