Fourteen leaders, 68 lead changes, only five caution flags and enough drama to make Hollywood take notice. That’s what today’s Indy 500 delivered to millions across the globe whose attention was riveted whether they were at the track, watching on TV or keeping up on radio or the internet.
When all was said and done, Tony Kanaan got his Hollywood ending as he threw the monkey off his back and scored his first 500 win. In perfect summation of his Indy experiences, Tony said in victory lane, “We’ve always been known for not winning. Now we’re known for winning. We finally did it!”
But the race was so much more than Tony’s well-deserved victory. Here’s a quick look at just some of the highs and lows of the day.
J.R. Hildebrand crashed out of the race before it had really gotten started. Lady luck is treating him about as well as she treated Kanaan for the past 11 years, but at least seeing TK get the win should give the youthful J.R. hope that he too could one day be drinking the milk.
The Andretti curse continues, right down to the notion that TK drove for Michael for so many years and now wins for someone else. Marco drove a fantastic race though, as did rookie Carlos Munoz, who might well have did what Marco didn’t and won it in his first attempt if either Dario hadn’t wrecked with three laps left or they had a “green-white-checkered” rule like other series do. I would lay odds Marco and Carlos will contend for wins for years to come.
A.J. Allmendinger showed the kind of smooth, thinking man’s racer he’s developed into over the years as he overcame some early handling issues to lead a bunch of laps and finish in the top 10. How cool is it that Roger Penske believes in second chances? We all should be so compassionate and forgiving. Don’t be surprised if A.J. ends up full-time in IndyCar very soon.
Although Helio Castroneves wound up with a top finish, Dario Franchitti ended up in the wall as the “three-timers” didn’t really factor in the run to the checkers. It just goes to show how high the level of competition was and is that these guys along with others such as Scott Dixon are not a “lock” to dominate the race anymore as more teams are able to be competitive with these new cars.
Many were hoping Takuma Sato would have a better run in the A.J. Foyt car but it was not to be this year. I think A.J. said it pretty well when he said of Sato, “He may not be from Texas but he sure races like he is!”
Thankfully, weather played no real factor today as the temperatures were near 60 and there was no rain. It allowed all involved to focus on the race and to enjoy the day as it should be enjoyed without the stress of wondering whether the race will be shortened or delayed.
Perhaps we could best sum up this whole weekend at Indy, with the four-wide Indy Lights finish on Friday and all the shattered race records today and so many positive and inspirational stores wrapped up inside it with this word…
Photo Credit: IndyCar