With the world-famous Indianapolis 500 only a few days away, our good friend Dario Franchitti is deep in preparation for the monumental event. So whilst Dario gets himself geared up to try and make it three-in-a-row for Simraceway, we’ve decided to take a look back at the last two Indy 500 races that ended so triumphantly for our drivers.
2010: Dario at the Double
Franchitti’s 2010 win, the second time he’d taken top spot at the prestigious race, saw Wheldon finishing in 2nd place, completing a fantastic one-two result for our pro drivers.
Dario had qualified an impressive 3rd on the grid. For him it was all about consistency, staying with the leaders, and taking the lead when the time was right. Dan, meanwhile, had a very different time of it. He qualified down in 18th position but, during the course of an eventful race, was able to climb an amazing 16 places with consistent quick laps and smart overtaking moves. Very different approaches then but, in the end, the two good friends were only separated by one place.
2011: Dan Triumphs…Just!
2011 saw a bit of a role reversal in terms of qualifying position, with Dan out-qualifying Dario. In fact, Wheldon grabbed a respectable 6th on the grid, whilst Franchitti started three places behind the 2005 winner.
Race day saw some great action, with Dario having a tough time of it, before finishing a respectable 12th overall. For Dan, on the other hand, his shot at emulating his fellow Brit and winning the Indy 500 for a second time, would come down to some of the most eventful and important closing laps of his racing career.
The last ten laps of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 saw a four-way battle between Dixon, Baguette, Wheldon, and rookie Hildebrand. Dixon and Baguette were duelling for the lead with the other two close behind when, with just three laps to go, Baguette had to pit for fuel while, in an effort to conserve his, Dixon was forced to slow. These events gifted Hildebrand the lead and moved Wheldon up into second! As the white flag was shown to indicate the final lap, it seemed all-but-certain a rookie would win the 500 for the first time since 2001. But fate had other plans.
As Hildebrand moved his way down into the north short chute and into turn four, he was forced to go high to avoid a slower car on the inside line, and collided with the wall. Without any steering and with only three wheels, his car slid down the front stretch towards the finish line, only to be overtaken by Wheldon in the final 1,000 feet. Dan crossed the line just before Hildebrand, who finished in a disappointing second place. So that was two for Dan, two for Dario, and two- in-a-row for the Simraceway team!
2012: A New Story Waiting to be Written
While we approach the 2012 event with the same level of anticipation with which we awaited the last two races, it is of course tempered by the sad realization that Dan won’t be an integral part of the action, as he has been so often before. His great friend Dario, meanwhile, is having a challenging season with his car not quite where he wants it to be, performance-wise. He finds himself in unfamiliar water, having qualified 16th (check out his video diaries below to discover his take on it all). However, as Dan proved in 2010, and even more spectacularly in 2011, anything is possible at the Indianapolis 500!
We all know Franchitti has been the most consistent driver on the IndyCar scene over the last five seasons, with four titles and two Indy 500 victories, and just because he hasn’t tasted victory yet this season, we’re certainly not ruling him out. The Indy 500 is one of the most exciting and unpredictable races in the world and, if anyone on the grid has a chance at the top spot, it’s him!
I don’t know about you guys, but we can’t wait for Sunday to come around! We know where we’ll be…cheering on Dario as he fights for a hat-trick of wins, both for himself and for Simraceway!
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