Greetings from the big track in Indy. (Don't be confused; I watched the race from home, so those are figurative greetings.)
pressdog® Beer of the Race is La Fin du Monde from Quebec, a gift from my French Canadian friend Pat Caporali.
We got Vince Welch, Jamie Little, Rick DeBruhl and Dr. Jerry Punch on pit lane. Marty Ried, Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever Jr. in the booth. Brent Musburger doing the Pit Lair thing. Indy is Festival of Pomp and Circumstance before the race, but let's get right to the ...
1. (77) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 02:38.2613 (227.472)
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 02:38.3528 (227.340)
3. (2) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 02:38.4727 (227.168)
4. (99) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 02:38.6696 (226.887)
5. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 02:38.7493 (226.773)
6. (98) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 02:38.9477 (226.171)
7. (44) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.4431 (225.786)
8. (67) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.9137 (225.121)
9. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.0253 (226.379)
10. (5) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.4785 (225.736)
11. (14) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.5814 (225.590)
12. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.5895 (225.579)
13. (06) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.5942 (225.572)
14. (30) Bertrand Baguette, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.7973 (225.285)
15. (11) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.8223 (225.250)
16. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 02:39.8464 (225.216)
17. (43) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.0133 (224.981)
18. (59) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.1907 (224.732)
19. (22) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.3488 (224.511)
20. (88) Jay Howard, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.3685 (224.483)
21. (07) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.4040 (224.433)
22. (82) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.4156 (224.417)
23. (78T) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.4335 (224.392)
24. (23) Paul Tracy, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.0433 (224.939)
25. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.0987 (224.861)
26. (6T) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.2572 (224.639)
27. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.2648 (224.628)
28. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.3574 (224.499)
29. (38) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.4424 (224.380)
30. (19) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.7451 (223.957)
31. (36) Pippa Mann, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.7600 (223.936)
32. (24) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.8012 (223.879)
33. (41) Qualified by Bruno Junqueira, driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.2203 (224.691)
Anthem by Kelly Clarkson, Seal and David Foster. Flyover. Mari Hulman George: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. Mari in the pace car with driver AJ Foyt. Killer shot! Mari looking thrilled, AJ driving ONE HANDED. Like two 70-somethings on a date (in a heartwarming way). Epic. Grid rolling. Let's light this candle ...
100th anniversary of the first Indy 500 is ... green green green.
HOLY FUGLY START. Yet another three-wide start that is something like 1.5-wide. Drivers say "SCREW YOU" (IndyCar and fans) to that whole three-wide on the front stretch bullshit.
Lap 3 -- Dixon leads. PASS THROUGH THE CORNER. Must be a clean track. Tag inhales Servia.
Lap 5 -- Simona has pitted already. Spanked the wall early. Early laps are a festival of shakedown.
Lap 6 -- Single file. Vitor inhaled by John Andretti. In-car replay.
Doc Punch says Simona made contact with the wall. Came in to check. Suspension looks OK. Back out.
Lap 8 -- Tag leads. Pass for the lead. Dixon let him go, it seemed. Probably going into fuel saving mode. Replay. Front stretch. Tag. Inside. Clear.
I like the new hat (crawl along the top). More graphic, leader and lap always visible. Big improvement.
Lap 10 -- Wheldon P3. Inhales Servia for the position. Front stretch is the inhalation zone.
Side-by-side commercial break. This was invited by NASCAR. Kidding. Invented by ESPN, used for a long time during IndyCar, recently introduced to NASCAR races, which made NASCAR fans say "GOD, THAT'S NEW!" Head shake.
Lap 13 -- Little three wide, high-low on the front straight on the side-by-side window.
I see open aluminum on the overheads. Don't hate. There are lots of people in the viewing mounds. Honestly, some of the seats at IMS suck when it comes to watching the actual race. Being a viewing mound person might be your best move at IMS. Just thinking out loud.
Lap 16 -- Cheever keeps saying "Tagliani" with an Italian accent thing. Instead of Tag-lee-ah-nee, it sounds like "TAG-lonny."I think Cheever speaks Italian. It's kind of grating, though, like when someone really juices the Spanish accenting on "burrito."
Goodyear thinks this is the time of the race when drivers try to figure out how good of a car they have. Shaking it down.
Lap 18. Pippa is P29. Hanging in there. Simona is -3 laps now though. Why is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Ed hanging in P8. Dixon is saving fuel. I feel it in my bones.
Lap 21 -- Paul Tracy pits. Problems. Canadians scream "WE GOT SCREWED IN 2002!!!" Kidding. Looks like Tracy is done for this race. (I THINK we had a replay that showed Tracy spanknig the wall.)
Lap 22 -- Yellow yellow yellow. Sato high into the corner and WALL. PEOPLE, we have been over this before at Indy. ONE lane through the corners after 20 laps. ONE. Eight inches high and you're in the wall.
Festival of pitting. EVERYONE pits.
Cue the circus music! Penske Not Perfect -- Will Power leaves the pit and loses his right rear. Right? I think it was right. Wheel goes bounding down into Sarah Fisher Racing pit. Dude. HEADS UP. Nobody gets nailed with it, though. Power will have to crab around the track on three wheels and get a new wheel. Lucky this happened under yellow so he probably won't lose a lap. A tiny Roger's Seafood Truck pulls up and 19 clowns get out and crab walk around pit road.
Lap 28 -- Restart. Some kind of two-wide in the back stretch, single file at the line kind of thing. But wait. Yellow yellow yellow. EJ Viso in the wall KV Racing is in the whiskey. Back to back crashes.
Driver montage of bitching re: two-wide starting here. Drivers didn't want to do it. Fans wanted it. Randy Bernard said we were doing it. It was fugly on the start and kind of weird after that. Drivers win. I think the compromise (it changed almost daily) was they would go two wide into turn 3, then get the green in between 3 and 4 (ish). So by the time they got to the line it was kind of random. So it looked good in turn 3, at least.
Lap 45 -- Marty gives us an "in the mix" so DRINK, ye BASTARS. Power is P28. Must be driving a pig. Cheever says sometimes going around the track on three wheels throws off the car. Good point from Eddie here.
Lap 47 -- Tony Kanaan is P6. Inhales Ed. Marching.
Lap 48 -- Danica is P19 behind Marco. Vince tells us the Danistar is determined to be patient.
Lap 55 -- Dixon is on cruise control. May be driving with his feet. Tag is P4. ABC gives us a Salute to Sam Schmidt here.
Lap 57 -- Onboard Tag. Festival of lifting. Has some issues.
Lap 58 -- PT is back out there but many laps down. Dario inhales PT who gets over for him. Dario him a little wave for it. PT fans claim the pass was under yellow. KIDDING.
Cue the circus music! Lap 62 -- Yellow yellow yellow. Jay Howard toast. Looks like we had another poorly attached wheel that came off right after a pit stop. Not so good.
Jamie says Dario was yelling at drivers for blocking on the restart. But when is BLOCKING acutally DEFENDING, Dario? That is our question.
Lap 64 -- Replay. Howard coming out on the warm-up lane and the tire bounds freeeeeee. Howard ass around and into the wall. Was just a passenger. Luckily the tire bounced WAY up in the air and did not land in Howard's lap. Cheever said lucky the Howard didn't go up the track or it would have been a festival of T-bone. A tiny Bozo's Bike Shop van pulls up and starts raffling off tricycles to the crowd.
Danica has to pit for a splash. Was running out of fuel. Almost runs out of fuel trying to come out of the pit. Takes a while for a car to pick up fuel from a freshly filled tank if it runs OUT. Rules say you can come in for a splash if you are running out and the pits are closed, but you have to come in again after that to top off and get tires if you want them.
Replay. HOLY CLOSE CALL. TK pits as Pippa coming out. Pippa's team sent her, but luckily she had her head out of her arse saw TK, slowed as TK slowed, so they could avoid each other. Bad news is that TK overshot his pit and had to be pushed back. Could have been a festival of carbon fiber there, though if Pippa just puls left into the pit lane.
OMG. Ed is leading. These yellows are all like five laps long. I THINK that is because IndyCar is sweeping the corners for a restart. But ABC thinks this is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.
Ed pits. DUDE. He gets fuel and tires, down off the jack and then had to STOP in his it box to let traffic clear. Right front crew chief had his head out of his ass and held Ed or it would have been very bad.
Danica radio -- asking politely for more specific info from her spotters. Kittens and rainbows!
Teej (TJ, Danica's dad) gets air high atop some suites. I can't tell where they are. Turn 3? Far enough to prevent TJ from charging the track in rage.
Lap 72 -- GREEN. Bia is lapped traffic up front. Ed is under her and through. Everyone stays calm. Simona is out of the race. Why? NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Lap 74 -- Daica P14. TK is P22 after the pit kerfuffle. Pippa lapped and P26. Power is lapped in P27!
Doc with Simona. It IS our business. Simona says she made a mistake early and smacked the wall, that ended up being it. Apologizes to sponsors and team. Simona is classy and brave and it's hard not to root for her. And she's a Women of pressdog®, so there you go.
Lap 78 -- RHR slowing. Toast. Festival of Inhale. Falls from 18th to 24th. Seems to get back up to speed though.
Lap 80-- ABC gives Versus a plug for the next race in Texas on June 11.
Lap 86 -- Wheldon P3. Ed P8. Marco P12. Danica P14. Rice is P19. What has happened to Buddy Rice? NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Helio P21. RHR P24, last on the lead lap.
Lap 92 -- RHR lapped.
Lap 97 -- Marty says maybe take care of the rubber. My inner 14-year-old creates a beer spew.
Lap 99 -- Festival of pitting. Tag in. Jamie does like nine pit stops in a row here. Pretty epic.
Lap 100 -- JR, Dario, Bag, Servia, Danica, Briscoe, Ed, Vitor, Kimball, Marco.
Lap 101 -- Yellow yellow yellow. Hinch in the wall. Jamie says we have a "full course yellow." Twisty moment! Replay. Up into "gray" in T3. Wall. We have been over this before. ONE line in the corners.
Danica has to come in for ANOTHER splash with pits closed to avoid running out of fuel. She's getting hosed on these yellows. Replay of Tag's crew BASHING away at something by a rear tire. That's so dirt track! Busting something off there.
Lap 107 -- green. FOUR wide. Crazy. We're into the road oval section of the race, where it's hard to pass on the track (and the corners are like no passing zones) so look for zany stuff on the restarts beause they are a great opportunity to overtake.
Lap 109 -- Marty says Mario "turned the trick" at Indy. Bow chica bow bow. (He meant "won.") Todd Harris spills his Pabst Blue Ribbon in a Key West bar when he hears it.
Lap 111 -- Helio passes leader (Dario) to get his lap back. You don't see that every day. Oriol goes under Dario ... clear ... leads. Dario is in a Festival of Nonpanic mode here.
Lap 118 -- Danica P10. Ed P4. Ed isn't getting much air. Vince says (paraphrasing) Danica will be saving fuel to make it in two more stops.
Jamie holds up a piece of carbon fiber that the crew guy smashed off Tag's car. Says it was a piece over the air intake for speed and aero, but they took it off because oil overheating issues required more air flow to the radiators, etc.
Lap 125 -- Helio relapped.
Kimball diabetes spot. Punch says the left front tire changer has an injection device and if Kimball's blood sugar gets too high the changer will have to reach in and STAB Kimball in the thigh to inject insulin. SHUT UP. THAT would be serious next-level pit service. The crew guy had an hour training using an orange to practice injecting.
Two of three Penske cars are a lap down now. Briscoe only one on the lead lap.
Lap 134 -- TK up to P8 again. Carpenter P10. Danica P11. Tag is being inhaled big time now. Car is pigging out on him. BIG wiggle on TV. Dirt track city.
Wheldon pits. Gets wing. Out. Pippa P22 and plucky. Leaders pitting. Kimball pits. No injection. Punch says his blood sugar is at a good number and stable. They can monitor it in the pit and Kimball can see the number on his dash as well.
Lap 140 -- Dario leads. Replay of Dario almost walling it.
Lap 148 -- Yellow yellow yellow. Tag walls it. Replay. Too high in the corner. WALL.I think ALL crashes at Indy this year were of the "too high in the corner" variety. Except one, plus Howard's tire deal.
Festival of Pitting. Danica salute from ABC. Big Danica piece on the intro to the race too featuring her fashioning around in heals and tossing jewelry. Interesting. She said some interesting stuff about the "not my fault" comment last year too. Haters were howlin' at it. Danica has matured incredibly in the last few years, in my opinion, and it's been for the better.
Jamie with Alex. Car was really loose. Had many moments. Finally just lost it. Looks like everyone will have to pit once more.
GREEN. Dario got a big jump. Someone took the warmup lane on the restart. No idea who it is (NOYB). Stuff is going to get nutty now.
Lap 156 -- Dario, Servia, Dixon, Rahal, TK, Wheldon, Scheckter, JR, Bell, Ed.
Lap 158 -- Yellow yellow yellow. Bell and Briscoe. Helio has no right rear. Danica pits. So does Power. Replay. Bell too high in the corner, swerves down and CHOP you very much, mashes into Briscoe, who was minding his own business. Penske is a Festival of Screwed today. Dario topping off during the yellow.
Lap 166 -- GREEN. Can anyone make it the distance from here? Festival of Fuel Saving. Rahal inhales Servia for P1. Rahal leads.
Lap 169 -- Danica P7. Ed P8. Dario P10. Dixon inhales Servia for P2. TK inhales Oriol now.
Lap 172 -- Dixon P1. Inhaled Rahal.
So if you're not going to make it to the end, the decision is WHEN to pit. Pit early, hope it stays green and others run out of gas or pit late? Hold on and see if we get yellow and stretch it. Big decision.
Lap 175 -- Dixon, TK, Rahal, Servia, Wheldon, Danica, Scheckter, Ed, Marco, Dario.
Wheldon pits. Rahal pits. Oriol. Festival of pitting for people who choose "pit early." Dixon pits. Dario pitted earlier.
Lap 179. DANICA leads. She stayed out and is going with the "pit late" strategy. In a dive bar in Key West, Todd Harris sits up in a booth and screams SALLY RIDE before slumping back into unconsciousness.
TJ gets air on the roof. I bet a sniper with a tranq dart rifle has him in the cross hairs right now. Vince says Danica can't make it to the end. Momica (Danica mom, Bev) gets air. She's likely praying for big yellow or flash thunderstorm.
Lap 183 -- Danistar rocking around IMS. leaving a trail of sparkle pony around the track as she leads. Shades of her first 500 (2005?) when she led late but didn't have the fuel to win. Danica is now slowing down, though. Slower than her pursuers. Only a matter of time. Dixon has the wings back and goes 223. Danica going 218. Shades of 2010 here. WHO CAN GO SLOW ENOUGH TO WIN?
Lap 186 -- Baggy (Baguette) is chasing Danica down. Now 4 mph faster. Both pitted on lap 159. Neither can go the distance.
Lap 187 -- Bag inhales Danica for P1. Todd Harris (wherever he is) is despondent. Marco is a lap down. I am not sure why and it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Lap 190 -- Danica pits with Marco. Dario is P2 on the cycle. JR Hildebrand is behind him. Bag, Dario, JR, Dixon, Danica, Marco, Wheldon, TK, Rahal, Servia
Lap 192 -- JR going 215. Danica and Marco back out with the wings back, but they are 39 seconds behind the leader.
Lap 193 -- Dario is going 208. Roughly the speed of smell. Definitely on fumes. Did Scheckter throw a block party for Danica in the background?
Lap 194 -- Bag going 218. Still leads. Dario is going NASCAR speed behind him and JR closing fast. Bag is 10 seconds ahead of Dario, who is now going 205! Definitely trying to stretch it. JR is closing fast. Wings are back.JR's car looks vaguely like an ... X-wing fighter.
Lap 194 -- Starting to wonder if Bag may go the distance.
Lap 195 -- Bag, Dario, JR, Dixon, Wheldon, Rahal, TK, Servia, Scheckter, Marco, Danica.
JR INHALES Dario for P2. Bag pits. JR LEADS. Death Star in trouble. No TIE fighters in sight. JR goes 209. Dario went 201 last lap before pitting.
Lap 197 -- replay of JR inhaling Dario. Dixon is P3, but that's NOYB. Hildebrand leads. Lightsabre sprouts from his cockpit. Barnes: "Use the force."
Lap 198 -- Satan shops for a space heater. JR could win this thing.
WHITE. Half a lap away from winning the Indy 500.
WTF? W. T. F.? HILDEBRAND INTO THE WALL IN TURN 4. Turn 4, last lap, JR walls it. Yellow yellow yellow. Skywalker bashed into the superstructure on his strafing run. The earth loses mass and everyone at IMS floats weightlessly for several seconds. Merry Christmas Dan Wheldon.
Hildebrand was one turn from winning the Indy 500 -- and walled it. That blows. Gonna haunt him.
Insert Death Star exploding HERE. Wheldon leads for 100 feet and wins. Bryan Herta weeping. Panther gutted. Hildebrand out, and to his credit, not weeping openly or throwing up on the infield. Car actually slid across the finish line for P2.
Wheldon crying in the car. Out. Swigs. Cameron the Izod Trophy Girl works it in the background. Wheldon with wife Suzi and Herta. Festival of milk.
Hildebrand stands up and does post-race interviews. Trying to get around a slower car (Kimball), got a half a grove up in the gray in turn 4 and WALLED. Rookie brain lock.
Props to Hildebrand for standing up and doing interviews. Huge. Impressive. I'm misty for JR and Wheldon, for different reasons. Wheldon the one-off with no ride after this race has won the Indy 500.
Festival of interviews after. Danica happy. Lot of "that's Indy" kind of stuff. IndyCar reviews the tape, etc. declares Wheldon did win. Some checking of WHEN it went yellow and IF JR could actually won it if the yellow came out before Wheldon passed him. Panther is not pushing this technicality though. Good for them. IndyCar rules Wheldon won, final answer.
Trackside online final results:
IZOD IndyCar Series
100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS - Results Sunday of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (6) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
2. (12) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
3. (29) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
4. (22) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
5. (2) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
6. (3) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
7. (14) Bertrand Baguette, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
8. (21) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
9. (27) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
10. (25) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
11. (8) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
12. (9) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
13. (28) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
14. (5) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
15. (11) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
16. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
17. (16) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
18. (7) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 198, Running
19. (30) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 198, Running
20. (31) Pippa Mann, Dallara-Honda, 198, Running
21. (32) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 197, Running
22. (17) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 197, Running
23. (33) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 197, Running
24. (15) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 193, Running
25. (24) Paul Tracy, Dallara-Honda, 175, Running
26. (4) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 157, Contact
27. (26) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 157, Contact
28. (1) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 147, Contact
29. (13) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 99, Contact
30. (20) Jay Howard, Dallara-Honda, 60, Contact
31. (23) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 44, Handling
32. (18) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 27, Contact
33. (10) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 20, Contact
Winners average speed: 170.265
Time of Race: 2:56:11.7267
Margin of victory: Under Caution
Cautions: 7 for 40
Lead changes: 23 among 10 drivers
Lap Leaders: Dixon 1-7, Tagliani 8-26, Dixon 27-33, Tagliani 34, Dixon 35-60, Franchitti 61, Carpenter 62-64, Franchitti 65-72, Dixon 73-98, Franchitti 99, Hildebrand 100-103, Franchitti 104-112, Servia 113-128, Franchitti 129-137, Hildebrand 138, Baguette 139-140, Franchitti 141-163, Servia 164-165, Rahal 166-171, Dixon 172-178, Patrick 179-188, Baguette 189-197, Hildebrand 198-199, Wheldon 200.
Point Standings: Power 194, Franchitti 178, Servia 150, Kanaan 135, Dixon 129, Rahal 120, Briscoe 117, Hildebrand 113, Tagliani 110, Mike Conway 102.
Results and lap chart courtesy of IndyCar PR.
Honest final thoughts:
- The fastest cars (Dario and Dixon) did not win today. For some reason their fuel strategy came up snake eyes.
- This race came down to a fuel mileage/strategy as Indy usually does these days. The good news about fuel strategy is it opens the door for an upset -- a team that's not the fastest pulling it out at the end, which is what happened. Everyone on fire about this race (me included) is hereby restrained from bitching about fuel mileage races in the future.
- Indy can be a cruel beeeeyotch.
- There is ONE groove through the corners late at Indy. ONE. Eight inches high and you're walling. We saw it several times last year and several times again this year.
- Penske suddenly has serious issues at Indy.
- Many twitter-based complaints on the number of commercials in this year's race. There were tons, and I bitched about it too, but the ad load was no more than last year, per ESPN PR. AND the last 25 or so laps were commercial free, by design.