Sunday, May 29, 2011

100th Anniversary INDY 500: A 95th Race For The Ages


100th Anniversary INDY 500: A 95th Race For The Ages

One could tell through the driver introductions that this first race of the 100th year that the race track, located near the postal stop of Speedway, Indiana, was going to one for the ages.

It is not just because the 95th race since the track was established was marking a monumental milestone in time, but that this was quite possibly, the most experienced and talented group of drivers, ever, to be fielded for an INDY 500 race ... really!

Five former champions, two 48 year-olds (John Andretti and Davey Hamilton), and a hoard of drivers with multiple starts, in the Dallara that will be running in its final year of competition, at this track.

Scott Dixon took the lead from the Green Flag and the field settled down with little incident thoughout the first eight laps until Tagliani passed Dixon for the lead.

Simona De Silvestra pulled in after brushing the wall, changed tires, adjusted the front wing and rejoined the field one lap down.

At the end of 15 the top of the order which is lapping at around 221mph sees Tagliani, Dixon, Townsend Bell, Dan Weldon, Dario Franchitti, Oriol Servia, Will Power, Ed Carpenter, Bertrand Baguette, and Buddy Rice With Graham Rahal making the biggest move of 9 positions from 29 to 20

Lap 21, Paul Tracy and Takuma Sato hit the wall in separate incidents. Tracy pulls onto pit lane and Sato's off brings a Yellow Flag.

Pit Stops on Lap 23 - Will Power leaves without a left rear tire ... the tire rolls along the pit wall and ends up in another pit.

At the Gree Flag on Lap 28 its Tagliani, Dixon, Bell, Franchitti, Servia, Weldon, Carpenter, Miera, Kanaan, and Rice - EJ Viso clobbers the wall and brings out the Yellow Flag going three wide with Hinchcliff and Viso touch. Scott Dixon had passed Tagliani on the restart.

This should be "IT" for EJ Viso ... the most expensive driver in modern open-wheel history.

Lap 32 Green Flag has Dixon, Tagliani, Bell, Franchitti, Servia, Weldon, Carpenter, Miera, Kanaan, and Rice on the double file restart. Everyone makes it through with Townsend Bell dropping positions.

Oriol Servia is also dropping spots all of the way back to 9th with the top five being Dixon, Tagliani, Franchitti, Weldon, and Carpenter on Lap 37.

Lap 44, Franchitti passed Tagliani placing Target Chip Ganassi teammates at P1 and P2.

Lap 50 has Dixon, Franchitti, Weldon, Tagliani, and Bell in the top 5 positions. Kanaan is up to P6 from P22. Rahal is up to P6 from P29. The biggest surprise is that NO Penske is in the top 10!

The top Penske team driver after 50 laps is Castroneves in P13, followed by Briscoe in P21, and Power in P26.

Pit Stops were just beginning when the Yellow Flag flew with 61 laps - Jay Howard was just coming out of a pit stop and loses a wheel and smacks the wall. Danica Patrick comes in for a quick fuel stop with the pits being closed.

Can't anyone tighten a single lug nut? Can we get a NASCAR wheel guy in there?

Andretti Autosport is also having its troubles with Danica Patrick being shown in P13, Marco Andretti in P16, and John Andretti in P24.

Green Flag Double file restart on lap 71 sees the top five as Franchitti, Dixon, Tagliani, Weldon and Bell.

Some of the tires that came off in the last round of pit stops were worn down to the cord (fabric) layer.

Lap 80 has P24 Ryan Hunter-Reay as the last car on the lead lap. He brushed the wall three laps earlier. Top five cars are pulling away - Dixon, Franchitti, Tagliani, Weldon, and Bell. P6-P10 ... JR Hildebrand, Servia, Carpenter, Graham Rahal, and Tomas Scheckter.

After 98 laps, Graham Rahal is in the top 10 at P8 ... Dixon, Franchitti Weldon, Tagliani, and Bell are the top 5. Marco Andretti breaks into the top 10 at P10 and Ryan Broscoe is the top Penske at P13.

Lap 100 has pit stops by many of the leaders - CRASH, Franchitti wins again as he just entered the pits ... that is twice in one race.

Oriol Servia's Newman Haas teammate, James Hinchcliff, gets high and skids into the wall Yellow Flag pit stops begin on lap 102.

On Lap 107 Green Flag drops with the top 10 being reset with Franchitti benefitting from his good fortune followed by Oriol Servia, Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Scott Dixon, Dan Weldon, Alex Tagliani, Townsend Bell, JR Hildebrand, and ...... Ryan Briscoe. Four wide down the front straight with 18 cars on the lead lap.

Helio just passed Dario Franchitti to get his lap back on Lap 109 and is now using the rosary to get a Yellow Flag called so he can go around.

Lap 112 Oriol Servia uses P2P for the first time and gets by Dario Franchitti for P1!

Servia is using Helio Castroneves to draft for speed and stay away from Franchitti. Danica Patrick breaks into the top ten while Alex Tagliani is slowing and has dropped back to P13.

Servia dispatches Castroneves on lap 120 which gives him a temporary cushion as Dixon passes Marco Andretti to secure P3.

Two of the three Penske Racing cars are one lap down. Ryan Briscoe is in the top 10 at P8.

Dario Franchitti passes Servia for the lead on lap 130 placing him in a Ganassi sandwich.

Tagliani gets placed one lap down on Lap 134 at P17 due to poor handling. Dan Weldon pits from P5.

Dario in at Lap 136, Green Flag stops are in full swing. Rookie JR Hildebrand takes the lead.

Lap 148 and the next to last pit stops have been made. Top 10 are Dario Franchitti pulling away by about 10 seconds from Scott Dixon, Servia, Weldon, M.Andretti, Bell, Kanaan, Hildebrand, Patrick and Rahal.

Yellow Flag - Alex Tagliani, the pole sitter, slams the wall and this ends the day for Sam Schmidt Racing's best hope for a win.

Helio Castroneves and the rest of the lap down cars come back in to the pits for fuel and tires.

At this point the race looks as if it is Target Chip Ganassi's to win with his cars running P1, P2, and P8 (Rahal) running in the top 10.

Danica Patrick is up to P7.

Lap 155 Green Flag Restart has three abreast, and running two aside for most of the first lap.

Lap 157 Yellow Flag - Townsend Bell and Ryan Briscoe take each other out. Helio Castroneves is running without a tire on the rim. Bell chops down on Briscoe in a corner and the tangled mess slides into the wall. Penske Racing and Sam Schmidt Racing are having a horrible 500.

Lap 164 has Franchitti ducking in for fuel.

Lap 165 Green Flag leads with Servia, Rahal, Dixon, Kanaan, Weldon, Scheckter, Hildebrand, Patrick, Carpenter, and Franchitti round out the top 10.

Graham Rahal passes Servia for the lead.

Lap 169 Dixon passes Servia for P2.

Lap 172 Dixon passes Rahal for the lead. Kanaan passes Servia for P3.

Lap 176-178 Kanaan and Rahal duel for P2 with Kanaan on top for now ... no Rahal ... no Rahal pit Stop.

Patrick takes the lead with 20 laps to go ... needs about 4 extra laps of fuel to make it to the end.

Lap 185 - 15 to go - Patrick, Baguette, Scheckter, M. Andretti, Franchitti, Hildebrand, Dixon, Weldon, Kimball and Kanaan.

Lap 187 Bertrand Baguette passes Patrick on the back straight but both cars can not make it to the end on fuel. Tomas Scheckter pits for fuel so Franchitti moves to P4.

Patrick in for fuel on Lap 190. Franchitti in P2 behind Baguette.

Three laps to go and Rookie JR Hildebrand passes Franchitti for the lead as Baguette comes in for fuel.

The Panther Racing's National Guard sponsored Dallara receives the White Flag. The rookie hits the wall coming out of turn #4 giving Dan Weldon his second win of the INDY500 ... the 9th driver to do so. JR Hildebrand crosses the line with three wheels in P2. Ganassi's Service Central Sponsored Dallara driven by Graham Rahal sneaks in at P3 to finish the podium.

Brian Herta Motorsports William Rast sponsored Dallara WINS THE INDY 500.

The final finishing top 10 places - P4-P10 - Kanaan, Servia, Dixon, Baguette, Scheckter, M. Andretti, and Patrick.

What a beginning to the Centennial Era of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

... notes from The EDJE

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