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Franchitti wins Indy 500
Scottish driver wins America's richest race.
Last Modified: 28 May 2007 15:12 GMT

Dario Franchitti crosses the line...in the right way [GALLO/GETTY]

Scottish driver Dario Franchitti won a rain affected Indy 500 which had been shortened for the safety of the drivers.
 
The Scotsman, one of five Andretti Green Racing drivers in the field, took the lead when the leaders pitted one last time for fuel despite darkening skies.
He then drove slowly to the checkered flag in a downpour when the race was stopped after 166 laps, or 415 (667.85) of the scheduled 500 miles (804.63 kilometers).
 
"Our roll of the dice proved to be the lucky one," a jubilant Franchitti said.

"I made a couple of good restarts and the rain came."

The race had already been interrupted by rain for three hours shortly after the halfway point, and Franchitti won it under a caution light brought out when teammate Marco Andretti crashed three laps from the premature finish.

Andretti, who lost this race last year as a 19 year old rookie when Sam Hornish Jr. passed him on the final straightaway, had slipped into the pack and was trying hard to move back into contention when he tried to make a pass in traffic and came together with 2005 Indy winner Dan Wheldon on the back straight away.

Andretti's car veered hard into the outside wall, slid back across the
track in traffic and flipped on its top after it hit the infield grass.

It finally came to rest on its wheels and Andretti was able to climb out
uninjured.

"I'm one lucky guy," he said.

"I'm so proud of Dario Franchitti."

Franchitti made a victory lap of the 4.02-kilometre oval in the
heavy rain as actress wife Ashley Judd, soaking wet in a summer dress,
climbed the pit wall and dashed toward the victory celebration.

Mobbed

Once Franchitti got out of his car, he was mobbed, hugged and kissed by teammates Tony Kanaan, his best friend, Danica Patrick and Michael Andretti.

"I can't believe it. It's the Indy 500!" Franchitti said.

"To be a member of this club is fantastic. I kind of have half of an idea of what it means to win this race. I'm so happy."

Franchitti's average speed was 244.25 kph, far from the record 299.02 kph by Arie Luyendyk in 1990, but given the conditions this surprised no one.

Scott Dixon was second, followed by Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr.

It was Andretti Green's second victory in three years, but that's about
all the good luck the Andrettis have had at Indy since Mario Andretti,
Marco's grandfather and Michael's father, won in 1969.

Kanaan, had appeared in control when rain poured down the first time after 113 laps, just four laps after he took the lead with a pass on Andretti.

Franchitti was fifth when the race resumed and fell all the way to 14th
after a pit stop to replace a tire following the restart.

But after that, Franchittiwas on the move.

He began to move through traffic under the green flag, getting to seventh on lap 131, just before the leaders began making green flag pit stops.

Franchitti regained the lead on lap 137 when Kanaan and Patrick pitted and stayed out front until he pitted on lap 143.

At that point, Kanaan got back out front and appeared headed for the victory he thought he had when the first storm hit.

But after Marty Roth crashed, bringing out another yellow flag, and even
knowing rain was moving closer, Kanaan, Hornish and the other leaders chose to pit for fuel and tires on the 155th lap.

Franchitti stayed out and led the rest of the way.

Source:
Agencies
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