Race Recap: The 2012 Indianapolis 500

Pre-race: Race fans remember 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Weldon, who died at last year’s IndyCar series season finale, by wearing white sunglasses. Weldon’s Indy-winning car goes around the track.

 

Laps one-40: Sitting on the pole, Ryan Briscoe leads the 33-car field as the 96th running of Indy gets underway. All cars get through lap one unscathed. Hinchcliffe, Andretti, and Briscoe are at the front of the field.

 

Yellow comes out after Brian Clauson spins in turn two. He avoids the wall. E.J. Viso contacts Dario Franchitti as drivers come in to pit under yellow. No crash, but Franchitti’s front wing needs to be replaced.

 

Lotus cars are black-flagged for being too slow.

 

Racing goes green for lap 19, cars go four-wide into turn one, and Briscoe is in the lead. The next lap, he’s passed by Marco Andretti. Briscoe overtakes, but Andretti takes back the lead and holds onto it.

 

Laps 40-80: Andretti comes into the pits under a green flag, allowing Briscoe to regain the lead. Andretti takes back the top spot at the quarter mark of the race. Lap 63, your top five are: Andretti, Dixon, Hinchcliffe, Sato, and Briscoe.

 

Mike Conway has drive-through penalty after hitting two crew members. Lap 79 brings the first crash of the race. Will Power and Mike Conway contact in turn one after Conway spins. Both cars hit the wall, but both drivers are OK. Power’s three-race winning streak is ended. Yellow flag and pace car come out.

 

Laps 80-100: For lap 83, your under-caution leaders are: Andretti, Dixon, Franchitti, Sato, and Briscoe. Green flag racing at lap 88.

 

Lap 90, Ana Beatriz spins in turn one and kisses the wall. Lap 95, we’re green again. Four of five top cars are Ganassi. The pack is tight through all four turns. Lap 98, fans put their white glasses back on in honor of Weldon.

 

Laps 100-120: At the halfway point of the race, Dixon leads. Lap 105, Andretti is six seconds off race leader, but he’s picking up the pace. Lap 115, Dixon, Franchitti, Sato, Wilson, and Kimball lead. Andretti is now 4.34 seconds off of Dixon.

 

Lap 118, Franchitti has a great nine-second pit stop. Dixon follows, also spends nine seconds in his pit.

 

Laps 120-140: Sato leads, Andretti gets fuel and tires at lap 123. One rookie is in top 15, and it’s Rubens Barrichello. He takes the lead for lap 124 (until he pits). 75 laps to go, Sato and Franchitti fight for the front spot.

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay is out of the race due to rear suspension vibration.

 

At lap 133, average speed is about 178 mph (which is low but expected when there are crashes). Andretti is less than two seconds off the leader, battling Dixon to hold on to third. Sato continues to be the race leader.

 

Laps 140-160: Your top five at lap 141: Sato, Franchitti, Andretti, Dixon, and Hildebrand. The fight for third continues as Dixon overtakes Andretti, who then heads to the pits.

 

Yellow flag comes out for lap 145 when Sebastian Saavedra’s car loses power when blending onto the track.

 

With just about 50 laps to go, it’s confirmed this is the hottest Indy 500 in history. Don’t really need to confirm that since Andretti keeps complaining his shoes are melting to his car’s pedals. That’s enough proof.

 

Lap 150, here are your leaders: Sato, Franchitti, Dixon, Hinchcliffe, Wilson.

 

Green flag racing at lap 152. Franchitti takes the lead, Dixon takes second, Sato is pushed back to third.

 

Wilson makes a move for fourth, as Tony Kanaan claws his way to fifth place.

 

Dixon passes Franchitti on the front straight to lead lap 159.

 

Laps 160-180: Franchitti takes back the front position, but Dixon stays right on top of him. Dixon retakes the lead.

 

Yellow flag comes out on lap 163 after Josef Newgarden's car stalls. Depending on how long the tow-in takes, drivers will be able to pit and finish the race on fresh fuel and tires.

 

Going green for lap 171. Three-wide into turn one. Keeping track of who is in the top five is getting a lot harder.

 

Dixon and Franchitti keep swapping between the one and two spots. Ed Carpenter has an incredible run and makes it into third, but Wilson overtakes him. Then Sato overtakes Carpenter for fourth.

 

Laps 180-199: Ed Carpenter spins on lap 180. Amazingly, there’s no contact with other drivers. He made it to third after starting in 28th. The pace car comes back out.

 

At this point, there have been 31 lead changes in the race, another Indy record.

 

Green flag comes out, and we’re back to racing for lap 184. Crowd-favorite Tony Kanaan takes the lead, but he is overtaken by Franchitti on the front stretch.

 

Kanaan passes Franchitti—a very impressive pass, actually—going into turn one.

 

Marco Andretti hits the wall after locking up, ending his race. Full yellow.

 

We’re still under yellow at lap 190.

 

“Who’s going to win this thing today?”

 

6 laps to go, and we’re going green.

 

Franchitti, Dixon, Kanaan are in one, two, and three spots, respectively. Next lap, Dixon takes the lead.

 

Position changes galore.

 

Sato makes it up to second with two laps to go.

 

White flag.

 

Sato nails the turn-one wall on lap 199, and the race will end under yellow.

 

Last lap: Dario Franchitti crosses the bricks first, his third Indianapolis 500 win in six years.

 

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