After winning his third Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 27, Dario Franchitti did what any proper victor would do - he joined his peers partying in downtown Indianapolis. Then he made the obligatory trip back to the Yard of Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for photographs and interviews before collecting nearly $2.5 million ($2,474,280) from a total purse of over $13 million for the 96th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Indy 500 purse awards come from IMS and from the IZOD IndyCar Series; there are other designated and special awards.
With an impressive 17 victories and four IZOD IndyCar Series championships since 2007 - Franchitti detoured to NASCAR during the 2008 season - Franchitti and his Target Chip Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon have formed a phalanx of success on the Indy car trail, finishing 1-2 in Sunday's race. Team owner Chip Ganassi now has five Indy 500 wins to his credit: 1989 with Emerson Fittipaldi, 2000 with rookie Juan Pablo Montoya, 2008's win from pole with Dixon, 2010 and this year as Franchitti's car owner.
Honda driver Franchitti, who started an unhappy 16th in the 200-lap race led the pre-race Carb Day practice and got the lead for the final time on the penultimate lap from teammate Dixon, overcame an opportunistic pass by Takuma Sato in the first turn on the final lap and led the field home under caution when the Japanese driver's overtaking attempt resulted in a hit of the SAFER barrier in the first turn. He led seven times for 23 laps.
Dixon finished second to Franchitti, bringing home $1,102,280 for his seventh consecutive top-six result in the biggest race of the season. 2004 IZOD IndyCar Serise champ Tony Kanaan earned the fifth top-five result of his Indy 500 career with a third-place run for KV Racing Technology, GEICO and Mouser in his Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone DW12 Indy car; he collected $636,580. Oriol Servia passed more cars en route to fourth place - from 23rd grid spot - than any other driver in Sunday's race and earned $443,430 for his efforts in the Panther/DRR Chevy-powered Indy car.
Polesitter Ryan Briscoe was Team Penske's highest finisher, taking away $489,930 for his fifth place result. As expected Formula One veteran Rubens Barrichello won the prestigious Chase Rookie of the Year award for his 11th place finish for KV Racing Technology; his earnings of $331,080 included the $25,000 Chase bonus for being the top rookie in the race.
Although he was the first car out of the race after only nine laps, Jean Alesi brought home $251,555 for his efforts in the Fan Force United Lotus, making $250 more than ninth-place runner Townsend Bell's Sam Schmidt Motorsports/Pelfrey Racing Honda at $251,305!
The winner's average speed was 167.734-mph and the time of the race was a rather quick 2:58.51.2532. There were eight cautions for 39 laps and a race record 34 lead changes among 10 drivers.
After the fifth race of the season, Will Power, who finished 28th after being collected by Mike Conway still holds the IZOD IndyCar Series point lead with 200, followed by a tie between Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves and Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe (164). Scott Dixon is third with 153, Ryan Hunter-Reay has 143 and Franchitti moved up from outside the top-10 to fifth with 136 (tied with Simon Pagenaud).
The next race is this coming weekend on the Belle Isle road/street circuit in Detroit.