Franchitti wins another Indy
By Eddie Pells
INDIANAPOLIS — One lap to go, running on empty and someone bearing down on his tail.
After having the dominant car and the perfect game plan, Dario Franchitti still needed more yesterday — one break to win his second Indianapolis 500.
He got it in the form of a spectacular, airborne crash that brought out a yellow flag and allowed him to cross the line with a scant 1.6 gallons of fuel left.
That 1.6 gallons left him holding a quart of milk, a winner at the Brickyard for the second time in four years.
"Still running," the winner told his crew over the radio as he crossed the finish line, while wreckers were moving out to scoop up debris from an accident that sent Mike Conway into the wall and to the hospital with a broken left leg.
The victory made Franchitti's boss, Chip Ganassi, the first owner to win Indy and NASCAR's Daytona 500 in the same year.
"All he wants to do is win," Franchitti said.
This win validated the Scottish driver's return to the IndyCar circuit two years after celebrating his 2007 Indy victory by making an unsuccessful move with Ganassi to NASCAR.
It also made Franchitti and crew look like the master tacticians they were on this day — working the gas pedal perfectly to stretch their final fill-up for the last 37 laps and edge out 2005 champion Dan Wheldon of England.
"You have to be prepared for all eventualities there," Ganassi said. "We had to play that game being the leader to keep those guys behind us, but also stay in front of them to make it to the finish."
Franchitti was holding off Wheldon when Ryan Hunter-Reay ran out of gas and slowed suddenly with Conway coming up alongside him. Conway went airborne, flipped upside down and flew into the wall, nearly landing on top of Hunter-Reay. That brought out the caution flag for the final lap.
"That car should have come down on my head," Hunter-Reay said. "I don't know how it didn't."
Meanwhile, Helio Castroneves' quest to tie A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr., and Rick Mears for most wins ever at the Brickyard ended when he finished ninth.
Coca-Cola 600: Kurt Busch won the Coca-Cola 600 to sweep the two weeks of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway at Concord, N.C.
Busch won last weekend's $1 million All-Star race to roll into NASCAR's longest race of the year with a ton of momentum. His Dodge was strong from start to finish in yesterday's race, but he had to hold off a hard-charging Jamie McMurray over the final laps. Kyle Busch placed third.
Turkish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton led McLaren to a 1-2 finish with Jenson Button at the Turkish Grand Prix yesterday after Red Bull teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel tangled and lost their shot at the top spots.