Pre-race favorite Castroneves stalled the car in the pits which shuffled him back and caused the team to roll the dice on a fuel strategy to get him back up front. Not getting a needed yellow he was forced to pit in the waning laps costing him any chance at the win.
Graham Rahal was assessed a costly black flag for blocking.
Tomas Sheckter leaves the pits.
KV Racing and driver Takuma Sato brought back the famous green and yellow Lotus paint scheme to the speedway.
Jack Nicholoson waved the green flag to start the race... then hung around in the flag stand to wave the flag a couple more times for restarts after some early yellow flags.
Yes, Georgetown RD is open for vehicular traffic...
Tony Kanan drove his heart out. It's a shame his final finishing position didn't ultimately indicate the top 3 position he deserved.
Vitor Meira returned to Indy after a bad crash last year.
It's a good time to point out that the AJ Foyt owned car is sponsored by ABC SUPPLY Company... not ABC the television network. It's interesting how the ABC announcers never mention that or clarify it.
Dan Wheldon had a seemingly quiet but excellent race making it all the way to P2 for the finish and also leaving a lot of question marks about whether he could've overtaken Dario on that final lap as Dario tried to conserve fuel. The yellow flag on the last lap made the point moot.
Name the driver that's 15 minutes of fame are about up-
Former crowd favorite Danica Patrick pictured above.
Race winner Dario Franchitti heads to Victory Circle after winning the 2010 Indy 500.
Hard to say Dario didn't deserve this win. He was hooked up all day long. Still, the fuel strategies at the end could've changed everything if there'd been an earlier yellow... or no last lap yellow at all. Dario was conserving all the fuel he could and there will always be some question if he could've withstood a last lap challenge and still had enough fuel to make it. Meanwhile, cars that were ahead of him in the final laps were going to have to stop for fuel (splash and go) unless they got a long yellow that would allow THEM to conserve enough to run to the end.
It was interesting (and to me it was funny) to hear the boos when Danica was introduced before the race. IMHO the crowd didn't sour on her when she threw her team under the bus at quals... that was just the tipping point when the general public had enough of the princess. She is a total media creation who has parlayed some hype and sex appeal, raw talent, and advertising money into a couple of good rides. But she's not really done much special with those rides in whole and realistically has probably underperformed all things considered. Yes, she finished 6th today... but probably deserved 15-16th... But she again drove just fast enough that her team can utilize a conservative strategy to move her up by fuel/pit strategies. Last year she did have a decent season but again she wasn't a threat to win. I see her problem two-fold: She's not as good as she thinks she is and she's not actually evolving as a driver who knows her machine (She would rather spend time marketing herself than concentrate on understanding her car and the nuts and bolts of racing).... AND.... the field is more talented as a whole and the cars are so well figured out that the separation between her and other drivers has grown. Plus I believe Indycar took away the weight advantage she had and mandated ballast be added to equalize car and driver weights (I could be wrong about that... although it was discussed and I thought implemented). That's probably why her qualifying has dropped off.
Anyway, Danica needs to put a quarter in the fame machine because her 15 minutes is about to run out. It's to the point now that if she was to win the 500 I'm afraid it wouldn't be a crowning achievement and a media bonanza.... It would be questions about how far Indy has fallen when Danica Patrick can win it.
IZOD's plan of upping the star power of Indy is apparent. Whether that pays dividends in the future I don't know. I think a bigger star in the Pace car would be smart.
I harp on this every year- Empty seats breed empty seats. The Tower Terrace seats on the north west side of the speedway are not getting filled. They just aren't that good of seats. I'm not sure how much they cost but I suspect 75.00... They should be more like 35... or 25.00. And maybe they are. If so, that's certainly not good. If it was me, I'd admit defeat on those seats, lower the price first and foremost, and consider painting them blue or green and declare them 'general admission... first come first served' or just rip the lower ones out and replace them with shops or a VIP lounge with windows or something.... and leave the more desirable higher seats.
It seemed like traffic indicated a bigger crowd, but I still saw empty patches of seats where I wouldn't expect them (besides the aforementioned Tower Terrace seats). I'm curious if the heavier traffic I'm experiencing is really more people or just a shift in the time people are arriving. And if it is more people, is it general admission people?
I also noticed a lot of empty seats as the race went on that were filled earlier in the race. Do these people just come to see the start and the festivities and leave (to beat the traffic?)?? Do they move to the infield? Today it seemed more noticeable than before so maybe the heat cooked some people out.
I hope the new management at the speedway see the need to allow some innovation back into the Indy 500 if not the series. They've dumbed it down and allowed the current cars to mature to the point that they are costing themselves money in the name of saving money for teams IMHO. When the lack of innovation creates a lack of interest it DRAINS money away from the event/series.
More than anything I think qualifying speeds need to be allowed to creep back up. I'm fine with using technology to keep racing speeds down but the cars need to be touching up against qualifying speeds that make you go "wow". ...Not running the same speeds for several years. Maybe mandate a qualifying motor and a more conservative racing motor. Of course safety is important but there has to be a line and technology should be able to move and improve that safety line as the speeds creep up too.
You combine "A neeeeeeew traaaaaack record" with the new qualifying format and I think you have something.
I'm warming to the idea that Brian Barnhart needs replaced as part of the housecleaning. The race start needs tightened up again and his reasoning for not doing it doesn't hold water with me. It's part of what makes the start of the race exciting. Barnhart seems to be a little too conservative and little stubborn to boot. I also thought some of the black flags today were iffy and probably quick. And probably not consistent either.
I know having "Indy Specialists" (Indy one off drivers) has been around a long time. I'm wondering if the new oval AND road/street course championships (as well as the overall series championship) could be used in a way to get some of these oval specialists rides for just the ovals... Just as it gets them rides just for Indy. I guess it depends on what when the oval or street/road championship pays (if anything, besides a trophy and your name in print).
Yes, it was hot today... .but my seats are shaded so it wasn't too bad. OTOH the walk back to the car was pretty brutal with the sun bearing down.