Tony Kanaan finally held up the Borg-Warner trophy after winning his first Indianapolis 500 on his 12th attempt. This year’s race featured records of 68 lead changes and average speed of 187.433 miles per hour.
JR Hildebrand’s heartbreaking crash in the final lap of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 cost him the victory to the late Dan Wheldon, and his Panther Racing team vowed to make his car more aggressive (faster and lighter) in order to win this year’s race. This strategic decision backfired as his car’s loose back end caused him to careen into the Turn 2 wall, thus resulting in another disappointing outcome for the National Guard chassis at racing’s most prestigious venue.
Hildebrand’s early exit preceded the next caution flag when Sebastian Saavedra’s right front was damaged after being cut off by Pippi Mann, before his car hit the wall. Another caution flag came out when Indy Car points leader Takuma Sato spun out.
In this year’s race, pole-sitter Ed Carpenter retook the lead on lap 44. By lap 70, Carpenter took the lead again, but on lap 133, Team Andretti Autosport was looking strong with EJ Viso, Marco Andretti, and Ryan Hunter-Reay leading.
Graham Rahal hit the inside barrier on lap 193, bringing up another caution flag.
Kanaan grabbed the lead from Hunter-Reay on the re-start with three laps to go. The popular Brazilian crossed the finish line at Indianapolis Speedway under yellow after defending champion Dario Franchitti crashed into the wall.
Franchitti and fellow three-time winner Helio Castroneves finished 22nd and sixth, respectively. Rookie Carloa Munoz was runner-up, while Hunter-Reay finished third. Carpenter finished 10th.
With his victory, Kanaan drank the traditional bottle of milk and will see his name on the Borg-Warner trophy.