IndyCar »

Mike Conway survives nightmare crash at Indy 500

Dario Franchitti's second Indy 500 win was overshadowed by a nightmare crash involving fellow Briton Mike Conway in the final lap.
Celebrity race starter Jack Nicholson was put to some serious hard work at the Indy 500, with a series of early restarts requiring his services.

The race was barely under way when Davey Hamilton went to move up the track only to find the 23 of Tomas Schecker already in the place. He tried to move down, which sent him into a spin that smashed him hard against the inside wall. Second caution caused by Bruno Junqueira betraying his lack of track time, getting too high on the track and getting sucked into the wall for a double hit. Mario Moraes subsequently brushed the wall, damaging the suspension (a bent right rear wishbone) and "whitewalling" the tyres, bringing him into the pits on lap 18 but without causing a yellow.

Helio Castroneves had taken the initial lead, but even before the first caution came out he was overtaken by Dario Franchitti. Will Power was soon past his team mate after the second yellow, putting Helio back down to third place, and Power went on to pass Franchitti for the lead on lap 31.

However, Power's race took a bad turn at his first green flag pit stop on lap 37, when he was ushered out of the pit box before refuelling was complete - a hugely uncharacteristic mistake for an outfit like Penske. It ripped the nozzle of the refuelling hose - which was left attached to the intake valve until it fell off out on track, bringing out the third caution of the race for debris. Power was able to get the hose taken care of and returned to the track, but had to do a drive-thru for causing the caution.

Dario was back out in front at the restart on lap 43, with Helio Castroneves, Raphael Matos, Ryan Briscoe and Ed Carpenter among the closest contenders. That continued to be the status quo through to the fourth caution of the day: John Andretti (who had been penalised for blocking Dan Wheldon just minutes earlier) hit the wall on lap 65.

Naturally everyone pitted under the caution, but it was a bad one for both Scott Dixon and Raphael Matos, whose crews both bungled the tyres and left the cars with only three wheels. Dixon was quick to react, but Matos ended up spinning in pit lane right into another team's pit box, which fortunately was clear of personnel. However, to emphasise the seriousness of the situation, both drivers got drive-thru penalties for the mishap.

Not that the penalty worried Matos for long. Whether it was latent damage form the pit lane spin, or trying too hard to make up lost ground, or simply because he was rattled, but Matos hit the wall hard into turn 1 on lap 73 to bring out another caution. Matos stepped out of the wreck, just a little dazed.

The race was heading toward green flag stops on lap 106 when Vitor Meira slid into the wall on the backstretch. The luckiest man during this was Graham Rahal, who had been penalised for blocking Dan Wheldon some 20 laps previously and ended up going a lap down: he had already entered the pits when this latest caution came out, meaning he could complete his stop while everyone else had to wait.

Tomas Scheckter had already pitted and stayed out while everyone else came in, giving him the lead at the restart until Dario reasserted himself. But the big story, as the race entered its final third, was the presence of Tony Kanaan in second - after he had struggled to qualify and ended up starting a distant 32nd. But on race day it seemed nothing could stop him, and while the race was clearly Dario's to lose, there was also a sense that Tony was just biding his time before delivering the killer blow ...

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
3-4 September, 2010, Sparta, Kentucky USA #10 Dixie Target Chip Ganassi Racing`s Dario Franchitti.
Helio Castroneves 2017 Indy 500 practice
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Scott Dixon [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying
Ryan Hunter-Reay Indy 500 practice 2017
Will Power Indy 500 practice
Max Chilton IndyCar 2017
Simon Pagenaud Phoenix IndyCar
Josef Newgarden, Penske, IndyCar, Barber Motorsports Park
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.