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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Franchitti gets second Indy 500 win

Sunday, May 30, 2010

(Photo)
Dario Franchitti celebrates after winning the Indianapoilis 500 with his wife Ashley Judd.
INDIANAPOLIS -- As Dario Franchitti crossed the finish line under caution Sunday to win the Indianapolis 500, he moved his owner Chip Ganassi into an exclusive club. A very exclusive club to be exact. With Sunday's win, Ganassi became the only owner to win both the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 in the same year.

When asked following the race about the significance of being the first owner to accomplish the feat, Ganassi wanted the focus on his driver.

"I'll think about that later," Ganassi said. "I want to congratulate Dario. I want to thank everybody who put together this team. It was a little dicey there at the end, on fuel at the end. He saved fuel when he had to."

After honorary starter Jack Nicholson got the race going, Franchitti went on to lead 155 of the race's 200 laps, but as with most of the field, went into fuel conservation mode to close the race. As his lap times dipped to just barely over 200 MPH, Franchitti was able to stay out front and was assured the win when Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay collided, sending Conway airborne and smashing into the fence between turns three and four, obliterating Conway's ride. It took some time, but Conway was removed from the vehicle with an undisclosed injury to his right leg.

Franchitti acknowledged that up until the end of the race, he remained calm, but as the closing laps grew close, things tightened up a little bit.

"Up until 10 laps to go, I was pretty relaxed. Then all hell broke loose with fuel savings and all," Franchitti said. "I just needed to know what the other guys were doing. If they were saving more than me, they were doing something special here.

"This means so much," Franchitti continued. "To come back after going away for the year, win a championship and win the Indy 500."

For the second straight year, Dan Wheldon crossed the yard of bricks in second place.

It took more than two hours to work out the next several spots, as passes were made after the final lap crash of Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The wait was worthwhile for Marco Andretti, though, as he moved up from sixth to third.

Alex Lloyd and Scott Dixon were next in line.

Danica Patrick fought off a difficult month, one filled with boos from the crowd stemming from comments the star made earlier in the month, and finished in sixth place. The boos turned to chants of "Danica, Danica" as she stood in pit lane following the contest.

Patrick acknowledged her pit stops as a main factor in her top five finish.

"I'm very happy with the result," Patrick said of her fifth place finish. "And the reasons we got it were that our pit stops rocked and we had a perfect strategy."

Fellow Andretti Autosport teammate Tony Kanaan, who began the race in 33rd place, battled his way up to second place, ultimately finishing in 11th. Last year's winner Helio Castroneves was running in the top three, but had to pit for fuel and tires with nine laps to go and stalled coming out of the pits. He ended the day in ninth place.

Castroneves praised the Ganassi team for its efforts and noted that mistakes were what put the race back a few times throughout the day.

"It was a hot day," Castroneves said. "Congrats to Dario. What an awesome car he had. Ganassi did an incredible job to put him up there. It was the car to beat. We tried.

"Unfortunately, silly mistakes put us in the back," he continued. "I'm very disappointed. I'm more disappointed with the mistake. Certainly, I am very upset for my guys. They did an incredible job the whole month long. They should walk out of here with their head high.

An additional note, driver Justin Wilson became the 200th person to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500.