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Posts Tagged ‘JR Hildebrand.’

100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500: Wheldon takes advantage of Hildebrand crash to win race



INDIANAPOLIS – It’s hard to believe that IndyCar veteran Dan Wheldon does not have a regular ride for 2011.

After all, the 32-year-old native of England has driven for Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Green Racing and Panther Racing. He has 16 wins on the circuit and two Indy 500 victories.

But for the 2011 Indianapolis 500, Wheldon was hired by old friend and former teammate Bryan Herta to a one-race contract for Bryan Herta Autosport.

Dan Wheldon (file photo)

Driving the #98 William Rast/CURB Big Machine car in Sunday’s race, it seemed like Wheldon was destined for another second place finish. He had finished second at Indy in 2009 and 2010 driving for Panther Racing.

But something happened in the last lap of the race.

Wheldon, who started the race sixth, on the outside of Row 2, was behind the leader JR Hildebrand on Turn 4. He saw the rookie crash into the wall and took the lead position before the caution flag flew and crossed the finish line under yellow. Race officials took more than two hours to declare Wheldon the official winner.

Wheldon’s contract with Bryan Herta expired at midnight Sunday night and he had no word on whether he would be driving anymore in 2011.

One wonders why the IndyCar owners can’t find a ride for Wheldon.

Auto Racing is a strange sport. It runs on not only sponsorship money, but sometimes it’s a “what have you done for me lately” or second-place finishes aren’t enough. First-place finishes matter more. The best credentials don’t get drivers anywhere.

As for Wheldon, he’ll end up somewhere, but as a top-notch driver, he won’t come cheap!

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100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500: Hildebrand crashes on final turn; finishes as top rookie and 2nd place



INDIANAPOLIS – Every year at the Indianapolis 500 fans and media witnesses something they had not seen in previous races.

Well, the 100th edition had a little bit of everything but on the final lap, it was shocking and surprising.

Surprising in the fact that JR Hildebrand was leading the race and shocking that he would crash on turn 4, the final curve to victory.

The 23-year-old Californian, who passed veteran driver Dario Franchitti on lap 196, would’ve been the first rookie to win the Indy 500 since Helio Castroneves in 2001. But it was not to be.

JR Hildebrand at 2011 rookie orientation (photo by Jim Haines courtesy

Hildebrand, driving his #4 National Guard Panther Racing car drifted after he exited turn 4 and smacked into the SAFER Barrier and was passed by Dan Wheldon for the win. But Hildebrand, hit the wall with such force, that he was able to drift across the finish line and finished second.

He had quite a day, considering he started 12th on the outside of Row 4.


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Franchitti wins IndyCar race at St. Petersburg


Dario Franchitti at 2009 Indy 500 Carb Day (photo by Manningmbd via wikipedia commons)

Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti, widely-known as the husband of actress Ashley Judd, is showing that he’ll be a force in the 2011 IndyCar series.

Franchitti, a two-time defending series champion was dominant in the opening race of the season, leading 94 of 100 laps on the 1.8-mile street course to beat out Will Power by more than seven seconds.

The win was Franchitti’s first and fifth top-five finish in six starts in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Franchitti took control early in the race and was never really challenged at all.

Tony Kanaan, who joined his new racing team on Monday, held off Simona de Silvestro in the final laps for third place.

De Silvestro finished fourth, her best finish in 16 career starts.

Danica Patrick, in her seventh IndyCar season finished a disappointing 12th. She was penalized one spot on the final lap for making “avoidable contact” with JR Hildebrand.

New Albany, Ohio native Graham Rahal finished 17th driving for Ganassi Racing.


compiled from IRL news