INDIANAPOLIS — There would be no new member of the Indianapolis 500’s four-time winners’ club Sunday.
Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti came up short in their bid to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners of the race.
Mears was the last driver to do it, in 1991.
Castroneves finished sixth despite briefly leading and Franchitti had a decidedly poor day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and finished 23rd.
“We finished top six, which is great championship-wise for points,” Castroneves said.
As for Franchitti, who won his third Indy 500 last year, “our car was never really good all day,” he said. “In traffic, we couldn’t make anything happen.”
Then Franchitti crashed with only three laps left when the car “just didn’t turn,” he said. It was the first time in 10 career starts that Franchitti wasn’t running at the finish of the race.
Scott Dixon, the Indy 500 winner in 2008 and Franchitti’s teammate at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, also struggled and finished 14th.
Setback for Sato
Racing legend Foyt had high hopes for his driver Takuma Sato, who nearly won the Indy 500 last year.
But on Lap 57, Sato lost control and spun coming out of Turn 2. Although his car wasn’t damaged, the mishap dropped Sato deep in the field and he finished 13th.
“It was a difficult spin for us,” said Sato, who became the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar event with his victory at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach last month.
“It was lucky we saved it, but our problem all day was with the grip” of the tires, he said. “We had big problems with that.”
Indy 500 trivia
Fourth-place finisher Marco Andretti led 15 times, the most ever for a driver who did not win the race.
However, Andretti now leads the IndyCar title standings by 11 points over Sato and by 16 points over Castroneves.
Second-place finisher Carlos Munoz had an average speed of 187.431 mph, a record for an Indy 500 rookie.
Tony Kanaan was the fourth Brazilian to win the race. The others were Castroneves, Emerson Fittipaldi and Gil de Ferran.
There were 19 cars on the lead lap at the finish, tying the record set in 2009.