Franchitti wins dramatic Indy 500 as Sato crashes on last lap

This topic contains 40 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  Keith Collantine 4 years, 9 months ago.

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    I picked the same spot as last year and sat on the inside of the exit of turn 4. It was HOT. I am still pretty sunburned despite putting sunscreen on. Thankfully, there was a good breeze throughout most of the race to keep it from becoming unbearable, though.

    What’s funny is during driver introductions, when Sato was up, I turned to my friend who had come with me and muttered “overrated.” Since his podium in Brazil, it seems many Indy fans have rated him highly and I honestly am not convinced. From what I’ve seen he just keeps adding to his reputation of being reckless and crash-prone. After the final lap, my friend and I were talking and I said, “remember how I said ‘overrated?’ That’s why.” He behaved similarly at the end of Long Beach this year. Until he more consistently keeps out of trouble, I can’t say I’m a fan.

    Other than that, the race was a great one. It was my friend’s first time (even though he’s a Hoosier who lived in Indy for part of his life) and he commented that he thought it was a great race and was glad the time he came wound up being a good one. We were both rooting for Marco and Kanaan (and I was cheering for Rubens, but his race seemed rather uneventful from the stands). Hell, most of the crowd was pulling for Kanaan. As soon as he grabbed the lead, the place erupted. He’s always a bit of a bridesmaid like Michael Andretti: does well, tends to be at the top, but can never seem to be first across the line on lap 200. For that, I think everyone dearly wants to see him win it before he retires.



    @victor_ro They were saying with the turbo lag that if you got off throttle it could take up to a lap to get back the momentum lost from the little lift.

    We can Monday morning quarterback all we want, but Sato saw an opening for the lead on the last lap of the Indy 500. Rather lose it going for it than to sit back and never get the chance.

    As Senna said, “By being a racing driver you are under risk all the time. By being a racing driver means you are racing with other people. And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, competing to win.”




    Which is precisely why I think Sato had every right to make that move, and I still believe that he actually had the corner and was squeezed by Dario just a fraction too much.



    @victor_ro @keithcollantine We will never know, but it did seem that whenever someone got overtaken, they did one of two things. They got back past within the next 2 corners, or they lost a further 2 or 3 places before climbing back up again. Obviously, gunning for Sato, I was rather hoping the latter would have happened.



    @ Mikemat5150 – I think the guys in the broadcast booth don’t know what they’re talking about. The turbo lag is very minimal. At the RPM they’re running, the turbos are basically fully spooled up. It doesn’t take a lap at Indy (2.5 miles) to get back up to speed.

    Race highlights



    in conway’s crash, the rear wing stayed intact after being the leading edge for his grindfest. with that crash and in general, it seems to me the amount of debris has been cut down.


    Adam Tate

    A great race, a fascinating race, and hopefully a preview of what’s to come on the remaining oval races of the season.

    With Chevy literally owning pole day, I like most assumed it would be a knock down drag out fight between the Penske and Andretti camps. Honda may have been late to the party, but they arrived in a big way on Sunday.

    The opening laps were great, so much drafting, so much passing, no one able to lead for a large number of laps, I loved it. The tv coverage was also great, several new camera angles, I particularly loved the camera placed low on the outside wall in one of the turns. Seeing the cars fly by at 220, kicking up marbles was thrilling.

    While it’s a shame potential winners like Power and Andretti crashed out, the end of the race was awesome. When Kanaan took the lead, the crowd went wild, drowning out the roar of the cars with cheers. I joined them, overjoyed that the likeable Brazilian might win. It proved not to be, but the great duel between the Ganassi drivers and a hard charging Sato more than made up for it. Lot’s of people are criticizing Franchitti, but it was more of a rookie mistake by Sato than anyone’s fault. Time and time again we saw during the race, that if a driver got to low going into turn one and touched the white line they lost all grip and shot up into the wall, the same thing happened to Taku. It was a great emotional win for Franchitti, a dream one-two for Ganassi and a big statement by Honda.

    Seeing Dario covered in milk, wife Ashley crying, dedicating his win to Dan’s memory was a great sight and a fitting end to a great race.

    My favorite two sights were Barrichello’s impressive race and the might of the new DW12. It gave us better racing, and even in the scary crash between Conway and Power, proved to be very safe. Indycar has taken a new direction this year and if the 500 is a good barometer to go by, we have a very exciting season on our hands.



    That crash is horrific and precisely the type of accident that whilst IndyCar is an open-cockpit series, cannot be made “safe”. A few more inches and the rollover hoop would have snagged on the fence and been torn off the car, while probably bringing the car to a complete sudden stop. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to watch this series!



    Keep watching Damon, it’s the most exciting racing on the planet.

    Still gutted for Sato! But he played with fire and got burned.

    Top Gears take


    Keith Collantine

    The always-excellent Gordon Kirby on Honda reducing the performance gap to Chevrolet:



    @joey-poey Long Beach was hardly Sato’s fault though. He got taken out by Ryan Hunter-Reay with a lap or two left. In Sato’s defense he was going for the win, and other than last year with Hildebrand crashing in turn 4 hardly anyone ever remembers who came in second. It was certainly ambitious but he had a shot at winning one of the biggest motor races in the world.

    This article is good take on what happened in my opinion.



    Dixon and Kannan’s comments on Sato are pretty harsh, it’s not like he barged his way in on the inside.


    Keith Collantine

    An interesting nugget on the last corner move:

    Some people have criticised Franchitti for putting too much of a squeeze on Takuma Sato and triggering Sato’s crash in turn one on the last lap at Indianapolis. But Dario’s move was entirely correct and within the framework of IndyCar’s rules, which specify that a driver must leave a ‘car width plus an inch’ of room.

    I wonder if that’s literally what the rules say. Anyone know?



    @keithcollantine I read that somewhere too but all I could find was this:

    9.3.2. Blocking – A Driver must not alter his/her racing
    line based on the actions of pursuing Drivers or use an
    abnormal racing line to inhibit or prevent passing.
    Blocking will result in a minimum of a black flag “drive
    through” penalty.

    9.3.3. Avoidable Contact – A Competitor must not initiate
    or attempt to initiate avoidable contact that results in the
    interruption of another Competitor‟s lap time or Track

    @slr I agree about Dixon and Kanaan’s comments being harsh, especially Dixon’s. What drives me crazy is that there were numerous passes between Franchitti and Dixon with more than enough room. I understand that they’re teammates and going to leave each other room, but when Sato tried to pass he didn’t leave an inch. It was too extreme of a difference in my eyes.



    But doesn’t that mean drivers aren’t allowed to defend at all?

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