Wheldon wins Indy 500 as Hildebrand crashes at last corner


2011 Indianapolis 500

2011 Indianapolis 500

Dan Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500 for the second time after a dramatic end to the race.

JR Hildebrand led at the beginning of the last lap but crashed at the final corner of the race while lapping Charlie Kimball.

Hildebrand’s car skidded down the straight on two wheels as Wheldon passed him to claim a shock victory.

The Ganassi cars of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon led much of the way, but came unstuck on fuel strategy later in the race.

Franchitti made what should have been his final pit stop on the same lap as Hildebrand. But he failed to make it to the end of the race without a further stop and had to make a ‘splash and dash’ stop with one lap to go.

Hildebrand passed him for second place, which became the lead when Bertrand Baguette pitted.

Graham Rahal fought his way up from 29th to finish third ahead of Tony Kanaan, who started 22. Kanaan’s KV Racing team mates Takuma Sato and Ernesto Viso crashed out within the first 18 laps.

Front row starters Oriol Servia and Scott Dixon were fifth and sixth ahead of Baguette, who made his final pit stop on lap 197 of the 200-lap race.

Tomas Scheckter, Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick completed the top ten.

It was an emotional victory for Wheldon who first won the Indianapolis 500 in 2005, the same year he won the championship. But he found himself without a full-time drive at the start of this year and today’s race was his first start of the IndyCar season.

The season continues with its first ever double-header meeting at Texas in two weeks’ time.


Driver Difference Gap Grid Reason
1 Dan Wheldon 6
2 JR Hildebrand 2.1086 2.1086 12
3 Graham Rahal 5.5949 3.4863 29
4 Tony Kanaan 7.487 1.8921 22
5 Oriol Servia 8.8757 1.3887 3
6 Scott Dixon 9.5434 0.6677 2
7 Bertrand Baguette 23.9631 14.4197 14
8 Tomas Scheckter 24.3299 0.3668 21
9 Marco Andretti 25.4711 1.1412 27
10 Danica Patrick 26.4483 0.9772 25
11 Ed Carpenter 27.0375 0.5892 8
12 Dario Franchitti 56.4167 29.3792 9
13 Charlie Kimball 1 Lap 1 Lap 28
14 Will Power 5.8513 5.8513 5
15 Vitor Meira 21.9398 16.0885 11
16 Justin Wilson 39.0811 17.1413 19
17 Helio Castroneves 49.618 10.5369 16
18 Buddy Rice 2 Laps 1 Lap 7
19 Alex Lloyd 25.561 25.561 30
20 Pippa Mann 41.0417 15.4807 31
21 Ana Beatriz 3 Laps 1 Lap 32
22 John Andretti 7.7129 7.7129 17
23 Ryan Hunter-Reay 34.2306 26.5177 33
24 Davey Hamilton 7 Laps 4 Laps 15
25 Paul Tracy 25 Laps 18 Laps 24
26 Townsend Bell 43 Laps 18 Laps 4 Contact
27 Ryan Briscoe 0.1089 0.1089 26 Contact
28 Alex Tagliani 53 Laps 10 Laps 1 Contact
29 James Hinchcliffe 101 Laps 48 Laps 13 Contact
30 Jay Howard 140 Laps 39 Laps 20 Contact
31 Simona de Silvestro 156 Laps 16 Laps 23 Handling
32 Ernesto Viso 173 Laps 17 Laps 18 Contact
33 Takuma Sato 180 Laps 7 Laps 10 Contact

Image ?? Larry Seidman

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57 comments on Wheldon wins Indy 500 as Hildebrand crashes at last corner

  1. Dipak T said on 30th May 2011, 1:57

    Gutted twice in the same day. First because we were robbed of an awesome climax in Monaco, and secondly because I was really gunning for Hildebrandt, what a gutting way to lose possibly the biggest race in your life.

    That has got to be the most awesome finish to a race though.

    • I have to say, I was beginning to lose interest in Formula 1 disgusted by FOTA’s reluctance to radically alter F1 chassis design from 2013, the over-reliance on degrading tyres to spice up the action, and the propensity for F1 to produce predictable results every now and then (while it was Schumacher and the Red Mist boredom from 2000-2004, it was the Brawn domination in the first half of 2009, and in 2011 the Vettel juggernaut).

      But the Monaco Grand Prix changed everything, made life more exciting and renewed my interest in the sport. Add to that, the Indianapoils 500 renewed my interest in motor racing all together.

      IndyCars are providing great action, but Formula 1 needs to change a lot. It really has to. Hope you agree Keith (not counting this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, of course)!

  2. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 30th May 2011, 5:35

    Wow. Just wow. I’ve been watching this race on TV for almost 2 decades now and I have NEVER seen a finish like this with an accident on the LAST corner of the LAST lap. Lo and behold this was my very first time to get to go and see the race in person (my brother is the engineer who designed the ramp structure for the jump stunt so he got us free tickets through his work). Since the jump was on the south end, after the stunt was over, we decided to sit right by the fence in the infield at the end of turn four since we were already in the area and it seemed like a good place that was very close.

    By the luck of our choice, I watched that accident happen right in front of me. After the insanity of the lead changes over the last 10 laps, we thought JR had it in the bag. I said to my brother “here he comes” as they came around, I turned and saw him go high and SLAP! Everyone was shocked. I hadn’t even been cheering for JR the rest of the race, but when it registered what just happened I started shouting “GO! GO! COAST!” We weren’t even sure if he won or not until we heard over the loudspeakers that Wheldon passed him before the line. As gutted as I am for Hildebrand, I have to say that I’ve been waiting my whole life to get to go to this race and this is a memory I will never ever forget. I feel like I got to see a historic moment that will be repeated again and again for years to come. I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m bragging, I’m just still on a high that my first time going was so special.

    • Gman said on 30th May 2011, 7:00

      Congrats on a great day at the Indy 500; you were a witness to motorsport history!

    • Damon (@damon) said on 30th May 2011, 9:14

      Great account Joey-Poey!!
      I can only imagine the noise the crowd made when he hit the wall and seeing thousands of jaws collectively drop. Historic indeed.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 30th May 2011, 9:19

      Sounds like a good time to have been able to see it on track. That finish was amazing to see on TV, can’t imagine how it must have been sitting right there where it happened.

      I do try to watch the Indy 500, although it isn’t always easy to see it on tv here, and I tend to only look for the start and nearer the end – it’s very different from F1, in the how easy it is too lead, and then fall back far; quite challenging to follow too, but that’s part of the thing (although that now also goes for F1, apart from Monaco, with all the pitstops etc :).

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th May 2011, 19:45

      Say that again, WOW.


    Truly the best Indy 500 I’ve ever watched!

  4. joseph said on 30th May 2011, 15:16

    If the flag man had not been busy with the white and the checkerd flag, and he got the yellow flag out before the pass was made, would that have been passing under yellow flags or does it not count if your the car who caused the yellow flags?

  5. Dan Wheldon is the best for me and i think he deserves that price. Feel sorry for Hildebrand but…

  6. Ice Blue said on 30th May 2011, 17:00

    Hey, since this is no longer an absolutely F1 site, I’d like to see some World of Outlaws coverage too.
    The point is that if I wanted to read about Indy cars I’d go to an Indy car site, NOT a, supposedly, F1 site.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th May 2011, 17:06

      Go read some other site then. I’ll publish what I choose to.

      (Incidentally, this is far from the first time I’ve had an article about something other than F1 up – there was a GP2 season preview here a few weeks ago).

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th May 2011, 19:51

        Thanks for it Keith, great you had the live blog up as well.

        I think its wonderfull, especially for special occasions like the Indy 500!

      • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 30th May 2011, 21:43

        I actually reposted a link to your Indy 500 preview on my facebook before the race, saying how I’m glad you cover other major racing events (and do a good job of it, too). So don’t let the naysayers get you down. I like being exposed to other forms of racing. You even got me watching GT1 last year!

        • Yes, fully agree with Joey-Poey. Formula 1 is one of the motor sports out there. No motor racing fan can maintain a closed doors attitude by watching only one series. We have to watch the others and get the true idea about this marvelous sport.

          Based on the present state of affairs though, I can’t maintain that Formula 1 is the ultimate.

  7. Don said on 1st June 2011, 19:43

    Congrats to Wheldon! He receives a nice $2.6 million dollar pay day for his efforts. Gutted for JR. I was really pulling for him at the end. A FANTASTIC race! IndyCar as usual puts on a great show. Thanks Keith! I’d love to see more coverage for every race in addition to your fine F1 coverage.

  8. James Bond said on 1st June 2011, 19:53

    A fantastic race indeed! More IndyCar please. Sato must hold the record for crashing in the year and a half he has been in IndyCar. It’s unbelievable.

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