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2011 Indianapolis 500 - Click above for high-res image gallery

The crowd at the Brickyard for today's 100th Annoversary Indianapolis 500 certainly got their money's worth. Once all the pre-race pageantry and fanfare was out of the way, the 2011 Indy 500 provided a spectacle full of drama, lead changes, and a shocking, exciting finish. Click past the break to see how the race shook out, right up to the final corner.

  • Dan Wheldon's 2011 Indy 500 winning car

  • Dan Wheldon's 2011 Indy 500 winning car

  • Dan Wheldon's 2011 Indy 500 winning car

  • Dan Wheldon's 2011 Indy 500 winning car

  • Dario Franchitti's Indy car

  • Dario Franchitti's Indy car

  • Dario Franchitti's Indy car

  • Alex Tagliani's Indy car

  • Townsend Bell's Indy Car

  • Alex Tagliani's Indy car

  • Bertrand Baguette's Indy car

  • Scott Dixon's Indy car

  • JR Hildebrand's Indy Car

  • Victor Meira's Indy car

  • Victor Meira's Indy car

  • Dario Franchitti's Indy car

  • Ed Carpenter's Indy car

  • Ed Carpenter's Indy car

  • Buddy Rice's Indy car

  • Takuma Sato's Indy car

  • Oriol Servia's Indy car

  • E.J. Viso's Indy car

  • E.J. Viso's Indy car

  • Will Power's Indy car

Scott Dixon jumped to an immediate lead as the green flag waved in Speedway, Indiana, as polesitter Alex Tagliani began an afternoon of disappointments by falling back to third behind Townsend Bell.

As the leaders dueled at the front of the field, Simona De Silvestro came in on lap four after brushing the outside wall in Turn 4. The injured Swiss driver's afternoon would go downhill from there, as her car never fully recovered from that impact, forcing her eventual retirement from the fray.

With the opening laps gone and the race still young, the field settled in to a rhythm that saw the lead pack stay steady.

Former F1 ace Takuma Sato broke up the action on lap 21, piloting his Lotus into the outside wall, bringing out the first caution. With an opportunity for low-cost stops in hand, the field mobbed pit lane for the first of six tire changes. As he left the pits, Will Power, who had been running in the top 10, lost his left rear wheel and fell off the lead lap.

Takuma Sato's car,  pre-race at Indy

The drama resumed apace on the double-file restart, which resulted in drivers trying to funnel three-wide into the first turn. This forced E.J. Viso into another car before he bounced into the wall, ending his day.

As the laps clicked off, it became clear that Tony Kanaan, who hadn't fared well in qualifying, would be a contender. By lap 48, Kanaan had climbed all the way up to 6th position from the 22 spot. Danica Patrick was climbing up the ranks as well, having moved from 25th at the start to 19th by lap 50.

The second round of pit stops brought out the third caution, when Jay Howard fell victim to a loose left rear wheel nut as he left the pits and crashed in the infield. Howard's crash was the second such incident of the afternoon.

Pitting under the ensuing caution proved disastrous for both Kanaan and Patrick. Patrick's car stalled as she tried to leave her pit box, and Kanaan overshot his after being crowded out by Pippa Mann. The foul-up cost Kanaan 35 seconds and the 16 positions he had gained.

Meanwhile, pole-sitter Alex Tagliani steadily fell off the pace. His fate was sealed on lap 148, when he bounced off the outside wall and was forced to retire.

Alex Tagliani's car, pre-race

The restart on lap 156 proved to be one of the wildest of the afternoon, as cars attacked the first turn three- and four-wide, though everyone came through without incident. This time though, with laps winding down, nobody was content to settle into a groove.

On lap 158, Townsend Bell and Ryan Briscoe tangled in turn one, crashing hard to slow the field again. The restart was a boost for Patrick, who had fallen from seventh to 13th.

Graham Rahal took the lead as the field went green again, but quickly lost it to a charging Scott Dixon. Meanwhile, Tony Kanaan showcased his immense talent, again working all the way up through the field to third place.

The leaders pitted on lap 178, dropping first place into Danica Patrick's lap. For the first time since 2005, she led the Indy 500.

Ten laps later, though, Patrick gave up the lead to Bertrand Baguette, as her early fuel stop strategy proved to be a blunder. With the laps winding down, Baguette looked poised to clinch the victory, albeit on a narrow fuel margin.

J.R. Hildebrand's car, pre-race

With three laps remaining, Baguette was forced to pit, handing the lead to poised rookie J.R. Hildebrand. Dan Wheldon gave chase as Franchitti fell back through the field trying to conserve fuel. Hildebrand stayed ahead of Wheldon as the white flag came out. With his team looking on, all Hildebrand needed to do was run an error-free lap 200.

It was not to be.

With a car below him as he rounded Turn 4, Hildebrand tried to run to the outside and stay on the throttle, a critical mistake that slammed him against the outside wall. As Hildebrand's car slid toward the finish line, Dan Wheldon snuck by underneath to take his second Indy 500 win.

A dejected Hildebrand skidded over the line in second, followed by Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon and Bertrand Baguette. Danica Patrick finished the day in eighth, while Tony Kanaan fell back to a disappointing 11th. After a long stint at the front of the pack, Dario Franchitti's fuel conservation late in the race left him to settle for 10th. For the full official race results, click here.

  • Dan Wheldon's 2011 Indy 500 winning car

  • Dan Wheldon's 2011 Indy 500 winning car

  • Dan Wheldon's 2011 Indy 500 winning car

  • Dan Wheldon's 2011 Indy 500 winning car

  • Dario Franchitti's Indy car

  • Dario Franchitti's Indy car

  • Dario Franchitti's Indy car

  • Alex Tagliani's Indy car

  • Townsend Bell's Indy Car

  • Alex Tagliani's Indy car

  • Bertrand Baguette's Indy car

  • Scott Dixon's Indy car

  • JR Hildebrand's Indy Car

  • Victor Meira's Indy car

  • Victor Meira's Indy car

  • Dario Franchitti's Indy car

  • Ed Carpenter's Indy car

  • Ed Carpenter's Indy car

  • Buddy Rice's Indy car

  • Takuma Sato's Indy car

  • Oriol Servia's Indy car

  • E.J. Viso's Indy car

  • E.J. Viso's Indy car

  • Will Power's Indy car



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      Narom
      • 3 Years Ago
      These plucky Brits seem to like winning at Indy.
      Turbo 4
      • 3 Years Ago
      After the Barber race I was roaming the paddock area watching the teams load up. I met some of Hildebrands crew and they were very nice. I was rooting for them and was shocked at the way the race ended. I feel for those guys. Keep ur chin up guys!
      Myself
      • 3 Years Ago
      I watched the F1 race in Monaco (on the BBC, hence, no commercials every 4 minutes) and then switched to Indy. OMG. The latter was like open wheel Nascar. Straight, turn left, crash, yellow, pits... ad nauseam. Don't get me wrong, I like Indy ... when they run on real circuits, not ovals. But even then, when it comes to skills and sophistication, Indy's way bellow the GP2 series.
        DrEvil
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Myself
        Yo, I've been watching both, F1 then Indy since the late 70s. I found yesterday's F1 race less interesting than the 500. The 500 is a high wire act, Monaco is exciting at the chicane and the indy-like blast through the tunnel. the rest of the lap is a big yawn. Monaco is more about the pageantry than the race. The DSR system which has been a god-send to F1, backfired yesterday and totally killed the race. If 4 cars are inline, the all went to DSR at the same time, so no one could pass. The sheer number of collisions was a clear indication that the drivers were getting desperate. Also, F1 needs to use the blue flag only in extreme blocking situations, and not having the slower pull over to let the front runners go. I for one think that Hamilton, Vettle, Alonso, Weber and their likes should be made to fight for every inch of ground that they gain. No more of this pulling off the road to let them pass. They're so damn good? let them prove it. Back to Indy, These cars do laps at 220+mph, some over 230 mph not straight away speeds, lap speeds, and they have to do it for 500 miles, while fighting crosswinds and turbulence. I like both sports, I don't ever try to compare the two. You should compare the budget of F1 teams to Indy teams, and maybe you'd better understand the difference.
      EnzoHonda
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was running at the gym and watching the race on the monitors. As I watched the last turn I thought "He's gonna pass wide on the outside, get into the marbles, and crash." Then he did exactly that. I shouted "F***ing moron!" for some reason (I wasn't really cheering for him, I just don't like racing mistakes.), then had to apologize to the people around me. Good race overall. I think we all know who really won though: Dario Franchitti. He's married to Ashley Judd. Every day is a win for him.
      Koll
      • 3 Years Ago
      Never knew that Indy500 is an Oval course race.... 4 left turns - and that's it?? meh
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      razrrick13
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great race, nice climatic finish. How ironic is it that the guy who took over Wheldon's ride at Panther Racing crashes in the final corner, only for Wheldon to overtake his wrecked Dallara and win? Pretty cool.
      Jim R
      • 3 Years Ago
      This wasn't the 100th running of the race. It's the 100th anniversary of the first running. The race didn't run during WWI or WWII due to fuel shortages.
        Drew
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jim R
        Thats incorrect. The first race was in 1909 so the 100th anniversary was in 2009. This was the 100th time the race had been run.
          Jim R
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Drew
          Then why does the OFFICIAL website say 100th anniversary? And why does the OFFICIAL site say 95th running? www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/indy500 Go look for yourself. The race did not run in 1917 due to WWI, and did not run from 1942-45 due to WWII. The first race was 1911.
          RouseHouse
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Drew
          First official race was 1911. They ran smaller races in 1909-10.
        Bobby Pittman
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jim R
        If a race had been run every year, this would have been the 101th race and the 101st anniversary. Unlike people, who are not 1 until the year after their birth, events start out with 1. 2010 was the 100th anniversary.
      Maxximtl
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am not a huge NASCAR fan, but I do gotta say that they have a much better pit strategy than these Indy teams apparently. How many cars fell out of the lead in the last 10 laps because of fuel? VERY poor planning on the crew's part. And the final turn crash was just the icing on the cake. How do you run 499.9 miles of clean laps only to screw up literally hundreds of feet from the finish line? I got the sense that anyone could have won that race.....there was no driver that was outclassing anyone else. All that mattered was how much fuel you were willing to burn on any given lap.
        Justin Wilkinson
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Maxximtl
        Right, because the Ganassi boys weren't dominating most of the race. Come on man did you even watch the race? Both Dixon and Franchitti where consistently up front most of the time along with Tags (until about the halfway point anyway)... I thought it was a fantastic race to be honest and most of the sports and race analysts around the world have agreed so far. You said that you're not a huge Nascar fan, which it shows, as there have been many races where teams have either ran out of fuel or are a few laps short just the the guys at Indy today... It just happened at the Coke 600 with Dale Jr!
        DrEvil
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Maxximtl
        Maxximtl: How do you run 499.9 miles of clean laps only to screw up literally hundreds of feet from the finish line? It's called making a ROOKIE mistake. Had he caught that back marker 100 yards sooner or later, he would have been fine. He didn't need to pass that car to win, also his spotters failed him. The spotter could have let the kid know that none of the cars in his mirrors was the second place car. He had that big of a lead.
          Narom
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DrEvil
          Hildebrand has been racing for ten years, be it karts or other racing series. He is not a rookie. He should know by now what to do and what is expected of him, if not he shouldn't be racing.
      david opanga
      • 3 Years Ago
      wait why didnt dan wheldon slow down they caution came out before he passed and he never slowed but the 3rd place car on back did
        Paul Hamilton
        • 3 Years Ago
        @david opanga
        There was a long delay -- I counted about 8 seconds -- between Hildebrand hitting the wall and the yellow coming on. If you watch the video, the light is on the outside of the track and it comes on right after Wheldon passes for the lead. Can you imagine if F1 or even NASCAR were to wait for a lead change before throwing the yellow after an accident? They never hear the end of it... On WTHR -- the Indy ABC affiliate -- an official said that there was never an issue with Hildebrand's car because it was "disabled" and drivers are allowed to pass a disabled vehicle under yellow. This is blatantly false on two counts -- first, the yellow didn't come out until the pass was made and second, the National Guard car was moving mighty quick to be "disabled." I'll admit to mixed feelings about this -- no driver should benefit from his own wreck, but rules are rules. I've never seen an 8 or 9 second delay in throwing a yellow at Indy, and in this case, it changed the result. Any other car on any other lap, there would have been no question about the yellow coming out immediately, and AFAIC, it stinks.
          Justin Wilkinson
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Paul Hamilton
          Then you clearly didn't watch the 500 when the big hooptie ha happened between Castroneves and Tracy a few years back... Almost the same situation only Helio was in the lead and it stayed that way after a review... I don't think they should have thrown the caution at all to be honest. Hildebrands car was going straight and still moving pretty quickly. Most of the debris was well up the race track out of the groove and chances are if you're up there in the first place, you're not going to have a chance anyhow.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Mbukukanyau
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hate that its only one brand in Indy. Its not even a competation
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