Dario Franchitti Does it Again!
This year's Indianapolis 500 had it all; drama, sorrow, happiness, laughs, film star, friendships, tributes, crashes, thrills, mishaps, accusations and a movie-like ending.
Last year's Indy 500 winner, Dan Weldon died in a crash in the IndyCar season finale. His three best friends were Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan. These three drivers came in first, second and third in this year's event as though Dan was up there directing them to the finish line.
Scott Dixon, winner in 2003 and 2008 actually moved his family to St. Petersburg, Florida to support Weldon's widow and two sons. Tony Kanaan openly wept after the death of his good friend and Dario Franchitti vowed he would drive this race for his friend, Dan Weldon.
Film and television star, Ashley Judd, wife of Dario, said after the race that she predicted her husband would come from well back in the pack to win this one for Weldon. That was an understatement. Dario started in 16th place, but after the race's first crash found himself back at 33rd, dead last.
The three friends each found the lead several times at the last and there was no way to know which one of them, or Japanese driver Takuma Sato would be the first to cross the finish line. The three friends said it was like old times with the dynamic trio dueling it out for the win.
Sato, driving an outstanding race, was there at the last lap primed for the win and was attempting one final pass around Franchitti when he moved a fraction too soon, according to Franchitti and touched Franchitti's wheels and spun hard into the wall. He had the speed and momentum to make the pass and take the win outright, but it was not to be on this day with Dan Weldon up there directing traffic.
Sato said afterwards that Dario did not give him the proper room and actually came back to him forcing his car to make the contact and end result.
Another driver, James Hinchcliffe said afterwards that tactics were used during restarts that were inappropriate. He actually said that Tony Kanaan cheated when he laid back in the pack during the yellow flag and then built up power to jump start and race to the front of the pack making it a dangerous situation for everyone else.
There were several comical, but dangerous mishaps when cars coming into pit row would actually run into their pit crew sending them flying into the air, or run over tires and hoses causing delays in their sendoff. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
There was one horrific crash that involved Mario Andretti and Oriol Servia that had one car flying along the wall and another spinning in the middle of the lane with other cars dangerously flying by. These were all brand new cars and the designs were made for safety above all and evidently worked as no drivers were injured.
Another scene right out of an action movie saw three-time winner Helio Castroneves driving through the Andretti wreckage through the lens of his on-car camera. A tire from one of the damaged cars came flying right toward him with hair raising speed and barely missing his car.
After the finish, Ashley Judd was ecstatic hugging and pointing three fingers and running down the runway and pointing those three fingers up to the cheering crowd signifying her husband's third Indy 500 win. She hugged and kissed her man and the milk running down his cheeks in victory lane was suddenly on hers as well.
This was surely one of the most dramatic 500's of all time.