Dario Franchitti inadvertently played a major role in deciding the outcome of the 97th running of the Indy 500 on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But not in a way he would have wanted.
At the final restart with three laps to do, Franchitti's #10 Ganassi car understeered off into the marbles - and then right into the wall. That ended Franchitti's race, but in truth he hadn't been in it from the start.
"Sums up our day," said the Scot, who turned 40 last week the day after qualifying for this year's Indy 500. "Our car was never really good all day. In traffic, we couldn't make anything happen. It was loose in the middle, big understeer.
"I was just going backward, sliding around on those old tyres," he said. "I went into the first corner on the last restart, and it just didn't turn and then the hit. The big, old hit."
That meant the race ended under caution, and with Franchitti's good friend Tony Kanaan having just pulled around Ryan Hunter-Reay for the lead in the brief spell of green flag running it meant that Franchitti's misfortune had just handed the Brazilian his first Indy 500 victory.
When I saw who was leading, it cheered me up a little bit!" admitted Franchitti. "Great, just phenomenal that Tony won. We had a crap day. We were never in contention, but I'm just so happy he won. He's a very, very deserving winner."
Franchitti was one of the first to congratulate Kanaan in the mayhem of victory circle in the shadow of the Pagoda, and did indeed look genuinely happy knowing that Kanaan's face would not sit alongside those of Franchitti and Dan Wheldon on the surface of the massive Borg-Warner Trophy - three of the four Andretti-Green musketeers reunited in silver plate, with the fourth - Bryan Herta - there in spirit as well as the owner of Wheldon's 2011 race-winning car.
Franchitti was the fifth driver to cause a caution during the two hour 40 minute race on Sunday. The first had been JR Hildebrand who lost the back-end of the Panther #4 National Guard in turn 2 on lap 3; then Sebastian Saavedra had exited the race with a crash on lap 34 after getting chopped and squeezed down low in turn 4 by Dale Coyne Racing's Pippa Mann.
"I just got loose, and I was trying to stay on the outside while giving [James Hinchcliffe] enough room to pull out," said Hildebrand. "I just got loose and saved it once - but couldn't save it twice, and at that point, it just went around."