The outcome of the 94th Indianapolis 500 came down to a couple of gallons of fuel.
Dario Franchitti had them. Tony Kanaan didn’t. And Chip Ganassi now has the Borg-Warner Trophy to set next to the Harley J. Earl Trophy he won in February.
Franchitti won the race under yellow after Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway wrecked on the final lap. The caution cut short a fast-closing Dan Wheldon’s rally just as the cars were approaching the double checkered flags.
Wheldon finished second, while Marco Andretti, Alex Lloyd and Scott Dixon rounded out the top five.
Meanwhile, Tony Kanaan made a spirited run from 33rd starting position to second place, but the need for a splash-and-go stop relegated the Brazilian fan favorite to 11th place.
A number of accidents marred the event, but none more frightening than Mike Conway’s flight into the South Chute catchfence. Conway was attempting a pass low on Ryan Hunter-Reay when Hunter-Reay came down, touching wheels and sending Conway’s #24 Dad’s Root Beer Dallara flipping into the air. Upon coming into contact with the fence, the car disintegrated, with the engine narrowly missing Hunter-Reay’s head and the driver tub catapulted down the track.
Conway was awake and alert but was transported via helicopter to Methodist Hospital with foot pain and an “orthopedic injury to his right leg,” later revealed to be a broken left leg. Several spectators were also taken to the medical center for treatment after being struck by debris but injuries were minor.
Drivers Ryan Briscoe, Raphael Matos, Sebastian Saavedra, Bruno Junquiera and Davey Hamilton all exited the race after heavy contact as well.
Pre-race favorite Helio Castroneves finished 9th after a late pit for fuel and tires. Castroneves hovered around the top five all day but stalled his car during a green-flag pit stop and lost time and track position as a result.
Mario Romancini took top rookie honors for Conquest Racing with a 13th-place finish, narrowly edging Simona de Silvestro in 14th.
Several drivers were black-flagged for blocking, including Graham Rahal and John Andretti.