Franchitti Wins Indy 500 In Dramatic Fashion

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Dario Franchitti scored his third Indy 500 win (Photo Credit: Indycar/LAT USA)

Dario Franchitti scored his third Indy 500 win (Photo Credit: Indycar/LAT USA)

Dario Franchitti has won the 96th Indianapolis 500 to take his third victory at the prestigious speedway.

Franchitti was followed home by Target Chip Ganassi team mate Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan after a dramatic comeback drive. The Scot crossed the line to win his third Indy500 under cation after then second placed man Takuma Sato spun in turn one while challenging Franchitti for the lead.

Franchitti had to battle hard for his victory after being hit on pit road in the first round of pit-stops by E.J. Viso, causing him to spin and damage his front wing on a tyre.

The 96th running of the Indy 500 started in glorious sunshine with temperatures reaching records for the running of the race. In the early stages, poleman Ryan Briscoe led from fellow front row starter James Hinchcliffe. The pair swapped positions a number of times in the opening laps before the first caution period caused by Bryan Clauson. The field took to pitroad and the contact between Viso and Franchitti was the main talking point. The incident left Dario in 28th place while Viso escaped penalty.

The Lotus pair of Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro were pulled from the race on lap 17 after failing to set competitive times.

The restart was a messy affair. Despite the ruling of single file restarts many drivers ignored this. However, the bunched up field managed to stay clean. Marco Andretti took the lead on the restart from Briscoe, who soon challenged him for the lead. Racing for 500 legend A.J. Foyt Mike Conway was the biggest mover of this time, as he had made up 18 places on his starting position. The prolonged green period saw a number of green flag stops as the second round of stops came upon us. By this time Franchitti had made a number of places and was established in the top ten by his stop.

The field settled in its third stint with little on track action. The lead three of Andretti, Dixon and Hinchcliffe had broken clear and the three followed each other nose to tail for many laps. On lap 75 the fourth round of stops began, and leader Andretti was first to pit. Many soon followed suit, including Conway who collected two of his team members as he pulled into his pit box. It would the start of a disastrous period for Conway. In hitting his crew members the Brit damaged his front wing and just a lap after exiting pit road he spun, collecting Will Power in what turned into a scary accident for all involved.

A seven lap caution period ensued before yet another messy restart, This time, the leaders were amoung lapped cars on the restart and the field barely has time to settle into an order before Ana Beatriz spun brining out the fourth caution of the race. Andretti pitted along with Sato, Hinchcliffe and the leading bunch. Five laps later the race restarted with Franchitti and Ryan HunterReay, who was yet to stop, battling for second among the lapped cars. The pair were followed closely by Justin Wilson who had been a major winner during the caution periods. Hunter-Reay pitted but soon after his race ended with a technical fault.

Franchitti and Sato battled for the lead while Andretti slipped down the order and stopped on pit road after complaining of vibrations. As he left the pit Sebastian Saavedra broke down and parked it on pit exit, bringing out yet another caution. Six more laps under caution followed and at the restart Franchitti and Dixon overtook Sato with 47 laps remaining. The pair continuously swapped positions for five laps before a fifth interruption to proceedings, this time caused by Josef Newgarden and his broken down Honda. The top 14 pitted and with 34 laps to go it looked nip and tuck weather they could all make it to the end without another caution period.

On the restart, Wilson picked off Sato as the battled was joined by Tony Kanaan. The lead changed hands once more for a 30th time, a record for the 500. Ed Carpenter had made his way through the field into 5th before spinning and brought out the sixth caution, ending the fuel race. The race restated with sixteen to go and Kanaan made a storming restart take the lead from fifth position before Dario retook the lead a lap later. The struggling Andretti similarly to Carpenter brining out yet another caution.

With six to go, the race restarted and Dixon and Franchitti soon made easy work of Kanaan, with Sato following suit. Dixon lead with two to go with Sato and Franchitti in close proximity. Franchitti and Sato passed Dixon and the pair crossed the line nose to tail to take the white flag. Sato dived down the to the inside at turn one but in doing so clipped the white line and spun, brining out the caution and handing Franchitti his third victory.

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Michael is currently studying Motoring Journalism at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey. You can follow him on Twitter at Google+ Profile
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