Dario Franchitti wins third Indianapolis 500 in thrilling finish

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Dario Franchitti won his third Indianapolis 500 on Sunday in a thrilling finish to a race that saw a record number of more than 30 lead changes.

As the white flag waved for the last lap in the 200-lap race, Japanese driver Takuma Sato tried to pass Franchitti for the lead on the inside of Turn 1 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But Sato then lost control, spun and smacked the wall.

That brought out the caution period and Franchitti had his third Brickyard victory on a scorching hot day with temperatures in the low 90s. He also won the famed race in 2007 and 2010.

PHOTOS: 2012 Indy 500

Franchitti’s teammate Scott Dixon finished second, Tony Kanaanwas third, Oriol Servia fourth and pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe finished fifth.

Franchitti wore a pair of white-framed sunglasses as he followed the tradition of drinking a bottle of milk in Victory Lane, a tribute to Dan Wheldon, the two-time Indy 500 winner who was killed in a crash last October at the Las Vegas Indy 300.

Wheldon enjoyed wearing such glasses, and the more than 200,000 spectators also were given white paper sunglasses to wear in honor of Wheldon, whose second Indy 500 win came a year ago.

Franchitti is married to actress Ashley Judd, who told a television audience that her husband’s three Indy 500 wins were “just such an extraordinary achievement. I am so proud of him.”

The Izod IndyCar Series is using a new race car this season, and it was evident that one effect of the new design at Indy was the inability of the leader to pull away from the field and surge in passing.

Near the end, Franchitti and Dixon repeatedly swapped the lead, as did others, before Franchitti prevailed over Sato on the final lap.

The Indy 500’s prior record of 29 lead changes was set 52 years ago.


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Dario Franchitti wins third Indianapolis 500 in thrilling finish