2011 IZOD INDIANAPOLIS 500
FULL RACE ON DVD H/D
DAN WHELDON - BRYAN HERTA AUTOSPORT
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Date May 29, 2011
3 hours 40 mins / Full race 2 dvd set
The 95th Indianapolis 500 was held on May 29, 2011 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the premier event of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. The track opened for practice on May 14, and time trials were held on May 21–22. The race was won by Dan Wheldon (his second after a previous win in 2005). American rookie J. R. Hildebrand
was leading the race when he hit the wall on the final turn of the
final lap. As Hildebrand's wrecked car was sliding down the main
stretch, Wheldon slipped by in the final 1,000 feet to take the victory.
Hildebrand slid across the line to place second.
The race was the third of the three-year long Centennial era, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of the track (1909) and 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500
(1911). The race was suspended during WWI (1917–18) and WWII (1942–45),
therefore the 100th running of the event will not occur until 2016.
The race has been billed as "The Most Important Race in History."[It was the final Indy 500 contested with the current normally aspirated "spec" Dallara IR-05/Honda Indy V-8 machines. In 2012, the series will switch to a new chassis and utilize turbocharged engines.
(W) = Former Indianapolis 500 winner; (R) = Indianapolis 500 rookie
The 95th running of the Indianapolis 500 began at 12:00 PM EDT on a
hot, muggy day, shortly after the traditional pre-race ceremonies of the
invocation, national anthem, and the singing Back Home Again in Indiana by Jim Nabors. Mari Hulman George
gave the staring command around 12:05 PM, as the cars took two parade
laps and one pace lap, led by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A. J. Foyt, who was driving the pace car. The green flag came out to see Scott Dixon pass by pole-sitter Alex Tagliani
to take the early lead in the race. The first 20 laps of the race saw a
relatively smooth pace set in. Unlike past years there was no accident
in the first two laps, with the first caution coming out on Lap 18 when Takuma Sato made contact with the wall. During the first caution period many team made pit-stops including Will Power
who left the pit area and drove a lap without a left-rear tire, which
all but eliminated the IndyCar points leader from having an opportunity
to win the race.
Shortly following the green flag restart (which was changed to a
two-car abreast start during the drivers meetings) Sato's teammate, E. J. Viso
was turned heading into turn 1 by James Hinchcliffe and was the next
driver to make contact with the wall and eliminate himself from the
race. Following the cleanup and restart after Viso's crash saw the field
taking shape and aligning themselves for the long 400+ miles remaining.
Simona de Silvestro,
who was burned in a crash earlier in the month, was not able to pick up
speed in her back-up car and quickly fell from 23rd position, to last.
On lap 44, it was clear that the car would not be able to keep up with
the field, she was called into the pits and her day was over.
Defending winner Dario Franchitti, along with Scott Dixon, Alex Tagliani, and Oriol Servià
all began to take their places at the top of the field with each of
them leading more than 10 laps in the race respectively. Later accidents
occurred with rookies Jay Howard and James Hinchcliffe. Howard lost a right-rear wheel on lap 61, while Hinchcliffe slid high in turn 3 and bounced off the wall at the halfway mark.
Following James Hinchcliffe's crash on lap 101, the green flag
remained out for over 40 laps as many different drivers shared the lead
and got in position for the shootout in the final 10. On lap 148, it was
the pole-sitter Alex Tagliani who would be called into pit lane after
making slight contact with the wall. Tagliani, who had not had a good
day, started in first, fell all the way down to 12th before the race,
was finished for the day, with his final finish position being 28th. One
of the few multi-car crashes of the day occurred on lap 158 between Ryan Briscoe and Townsend Bell. Up to that point in the day, Team Penske
had been running slow and really did not have a good shot at any of
their drivers winning the race, and with the crash and elimination of Ryan Briscoe all hope seemed gone as Helio Castroneves
and Will Power were both down due to bad pit stops and slow cars. With
no more lengthy cautions the remainder of the race it turned into a
fight for the lead as the laps dwindled down.
As the race prepared to go back to green on lap 164, a handful of
drivers ducked into the pit area to top off their fuel, in hopes of
going the distance without another pit stop. Dario Franchitti and J. R. Hildebrand were among those who gave up their track position, and topped off their fuel.
For the first time in his Indy career, Graham Rahal took the lead of
the race and held it for six laps. However, he lost a battle to Scott
Dixon and was forced to a pit stop which dropped out of the top five.
However, he was able to finish the race in third place. Tony Kanaan also
saw his flirt with Indy glory as he made his way all from the middle of
the pack to second place at one point, but was forced as well to drop
on a pit stop with less than 20 laps to go. As the race came to down to
its final 15 laps, it was still Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, two
Chip Ganassi Racing cars and former winners, who looked like they would
win the race. However, late in the race after a series of pit stops by
most in the lead, it was an unlikely Bertrand Baguette who would lead
the race as the action came to it climax. With both Dixon and
Franchitti, not expecting another yellow and taking the pits, both
falling back, it seemed like a new face would be awarded the winner of
the Indianapolis 500.
The final ten laps became a battle between Dixon, Baguette, Dan Wheldon, and rookie J. R. Hildebrand.
It was Dixon and Baguette who battled for the lead with about eight
laps to go. With three laps to go, Baguette pitted for fuel and Dixon
slowed to conserve fuel. This gave the lead to J.R. Hildebrand as
Wheldon moved into second place. As the field was given the white flag,
it seemed all but certain a rookie would win the 500 for the first time
since Castroneves won it in 2001. Hildebrand moved his way down into the
north short chute and down into turn four. Coming in on the front
stretch the rook went high to avoid the slower car of Charlie Kimball,
who was on the inside line, and collided with the wall. Hildebrand
finished the race despite the collision, but not before Dan Wheldon was
able to come from behind and cross the line first.
become the 18th person to win more two or more Indianapolis 500's, his
first coming in 2005. The 200th lap was the only one he led in the race,
breaking Joe Dawson's
99-year-old record for the fewest laps led by an Indy winner. As he
took to victory lane, he celebrated with the traditional ceremonies of
the wreath, glass of milk, and the presentation of the Borg Warner Trophy. As the celebration was occurring, his former team Panther Racing
considered filing for a review, stating that Wheldon made an illegal
pass during the yellow on Hildebrand's car. In the end, video showed
that the yellow did not come out until after Wheldon had passed, and
even if it would have come out before the pass, the president of
competition ruled that Hildebrand's car was a "wounded car", and was
therefore allowed to be passed in the race.
Wheldon's average speed of 170.265 mph was the fourth-fastest Indy
500 in history, and was the first Indy 500 completed in less than three
hours since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000.
- Note: Unofficially Oriol Servià finished 5th, 8.8757 seconds behind the leader, with Scott Dixon
placing 6th. When the official results were posted, it was determined
that Servia passed Dixon on the final lap while the yellow caution light
was illuminated. Officials re-instated Dixon to 5th, and dropped Servia
to 6th in the final standings.
- Note: After qualifying had concluded, Bruno Junqueira was replaced by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who did not qualify for the 500. Junqueira received full qualifying points for a 19th place qualification.