Tony Kanaan - Indy 500 winner

TONY KANAAN/KV Racing Technology Chevrolet won the most amazing, record-breaking 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at The Brickyard Sunday. There were two cautions in the last ten laps, and he took the checkered flag with the yellow flag. But that doesn’t negate the pass he made for the lead between the two cautions, getting ahead of 2012 IZOD IndyCar champion, RYAN HUNTER-REAY/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.

Afterwards, Kanaan said “It was a good day.”

Alex Zanardi & KVRT Team Owner Jimmy Vasser after hearing Big Crowd Cheer for driver Tony Kanaan during Driver Introductions
Alex Zanardi & KVRT Team Owner Jimmy Vasser after hearing Big Crowd Cheer for driver Tony Kanaan during Driver Introductions

It was a very popular win. Kanaan got the most cheers during Driver Introductions, and every other time he was introduced to the crowd during the weekend. It’s something TK acknowledged, in a modest, humble way – knowing of his popularity for awhile

The crowd was on its feet for the last ten laps. Kanaan led 15 times for 37 laps, the most times, as did MARCO ANDRETTI/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet who led fifteen times, but only for 34 laps. Records set Sunday included lead changes, number of different drivers, how safe was the race, and no one hurt.

GRAHAM RAHAL/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda brought out the caution with six laps to go. RHR was leading on the restart and until Rahal spun and hit the wall. That dashed everyone’s hope for a flat-out pure finish. Then three-time Indy 500 winner, DARIO FRANCHITTI/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda hit the wall on Lap 197, shortly after the course going green. This brought out the last caution.

Before the race, GRAHAM RAHAL/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda told Kanaan if he couldn’t win, he wanted Kanaan to win. It was Rahal’s crash which brought out the last caution of the 200-lap race, with three laps to go.

There was an unbelievable number of lead changes in the 250-lap race. Sixty-eight, doubling the 2012 record of 34 lead changes – and 43 of the passes were on track. Also record-breaking was the number of different leaders – 14. Great racing! Makes up for morning Monaco motorcade.

Two Rookies led – CARLOS MUNOZ/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, five times for 12 laps, finishing second. AJ ALLMENDINGER/Team Penske Racing Chevrolet led three times for 23 laps, going from the back to front several times after pit stops. He finished seventh.

Munoz had spoken earlier in the week of how much he admired JPM, who won his Rookie Indy 500 in 2000, and how the whole country revered him for his glory.

AJ led the first time, until he had to pit to reattach a right seat belt which had come loose. Rookie heartbreak, putting him a lap down in P23. It only took 25 laps to charge back to the lead, by Lap 137. Then a slow pitstop put him a lap down in P24. Then another run for the lead.

The last Rookie to win the Indy 500 was JUAN PABLO MONTOYA in 2000.

Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter

Pole Sitter, ED CARPENTER/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet led six times for 37 laps-the most laps led, and finished tenth.

At any given time there were at least four Chevrolets in the top four, sometimes all the top ten. The top finishing Honda was JUSTIN WILSON/Dale Coyne Racing – who turned the fastest lap of 226.940 mph on Lap 185. The top four finishers and seven of the top ten were Chevrolets.

Three other Hondas led the race, for one or more each – SCOTT DIXON/Target Chip Ganassi Racing, JAMES JAKES/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda during pit stop recycling-for five laps, and the top-starting Honda driver, ALEX TAGLIANI/Barracuda Racing. Tag later had mechanical issues which caused him to pit.

Jakes served not one, but two drive-through penalties for pit lane violations. One he shared with his RLL teammate, GRAHAM RAHAL, for not using the blend line properly-which cost them big bucks, and his solo problem was for hitting a crew member. The only other penalty was for running over a hose in the pits, causing a drive-thru for SIMONA DE SILVESTRO.

The temperature was 64 degrees F for the race, and 73 degrees F on track. The weather didn’t ruin the race, said to be headed in during the last few laps.

JR Hildebrand's car - before race
JR Hildebrand’s car – before race

JR HILDEBRAND/Panther Racing Chevrolet was out early, crashing on Lap Four. He was cleared to drive by DR. OLINGER, IndyCar Medical Director, but his day was over.

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA/Dragon Racing Honda caused the second caution, slowing on course after hitting the SAFER Barrier in Turn Four on Lap 36. He also was cleared to drive, but no car.

The third caution was brought out by TAKUMA SATO/AJ Foyt Enterprise Honda on Lap 57 for spinning on course, but avoiding the wall and traffic. He was able to continue, and there was wholesale pit stops – nearly the entire field. Sato finished thirteenth, on the lead lap.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/Dragon Racing Chevrolet had a problem in his last pit stop. He had a contact, and completed 178 laps.

KATHERINE LEGGE/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda had mechanical issues stemming from an early wall brush, which put her six-seven laps down before she pitted on Lap 41. She finished P26, seven laps down.

There were no Double Drivers this weekend, racing in both the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 Race in Charlotte; but BRAD KESELOWSKI did a 1 1/2 commute. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion was at the Indy 500, visiting in the Penske Garage and hanging out in the pits during the race, dressed in civvies.

TOWNSEND BELL/Panther Racing Chevrolet barely hit the wall with his right front, and skidded wildly across the track into the grass but managed to save it. He pitted. Bell finished the race, eight laps down, in P27.

PIPPA MANN/Dale Coyne Racing Honda retired on Lap 46 after a contact. She was fifteen laps down at the time, and was credited with P30.

BUDDY LAZIER/Lazier Partners Chevrolet pitted on Lap 45 with mechanical problems and retired, finishing P31.

Unofficial Results