2012 Indianapolis 500
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The 96th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana on Sunday May 27, 2012. It was the premier event of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. For the first time since 1996 all entries featured turbocharged engines, and all entries were brand new model-year chassis, as part of the ICONIC Project. This was the first time since 2003, and only the fourth time since 1985, that all cars were a new model-year chassis.
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Season||2012 IndyCar season|
|Date||May 27, 2012|
|Winning team||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|Average speed||167.734 mph (269.942 km/h)|
|Pole position||Ryan Briscoe|
|Pole speed||226.484 mph (364.491 km/h)|
|Fastest qualifier||Ryan Briscoe|
|Rookie of the Year||Rubens Barrichello|
|Most laps led||Marco Andretti (59)|
|National anthem||Martina McBride|
|"Back Home Again in Indiana"||Jim Nabors (video)|
|Starting Command||Mari Hulman George|
|Pace car||Chevrolet Corvette ZR1|
|Pace car driver||Guy Fieri|
|Honorary starter||Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels|
|Estimated attendance||300,000 + (est.)|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, and Eddie Cheever|
The track opened for practice on Saturday May 12. Time trials were held May 19–20. Ryan Briscoe of Penske Racing qualified for the pole position. The final practice, traditionally dubbed "Carb Day," was held Friday May 25.
Dario Franchitti, who previously won the race in 2007 and 2010, won the event, becoming a three-time Indy 500 champion. On the final lap, second place Takuma Sato challenged Franchitti for the lead in turn one, but Franchitti maintained a low line, forcing Sato's left tires on or over the white line marking the edge of the course. As the two cars were side by side, Sato spun and crashed into the outside wall. Accounts differ whether the two made contact, whether Sato spun because he was forced too low, or whether the loss of grip from proximity to Franchitti's car caused him to spin. Sato finished in 17th, while Franchitti went on to take the victory. Franchitti's teammate Scott Dixon finished second, sweeping a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing. The race set an all-time record with 34 lead changes. Franchitti's win represented the ninth consecutive Indy victory for Honda, despite the presence of multiple engine manufacturers for the first time since 2005.
For the first time since 1947, the previous year's race winner had been killed in a racing crash in the time between races. Defending race winner Dan Wheldon was killed in a horrific crash during the 2011 season finale, the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Several winners have missed the following year due to either retirements, injuries, or racing in a different series. The last time the defending champion did not participate in the race due to injury or death was 2004 race winner Buddy Rice, who suffered a concussion during practice, and sat out the 2005 race (also won by Wheldon). The last time a defending Indianapolis 500 champion did not participate in the race under any circumstances was 2007 race winner Dario Franchitti, who was injured in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2008 and had a full-time racing schedule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008.
Due to safety concerns, IndyCar officials announced in the 2012 State of IndyCar address that restarts would revert to single-file for the two ovals whose distance is at least two miles or greater.
Jim Nabors, who has traditionally sung "Back Home Again in Indiana" during the pre-race ceremonies in most years since 1972, was not able to attend the race due to health reasons. The Speedway sent a film crew to record him performing the song at his home in Hawaiʻi, and aired it on race morning.
Going into the month, there was growing concern about filling the field to the traditional 33 cars. This was due in part to the struggles of Lotus, and lease issues in the first year of the new engine package, namely involving Dragon Racing. However, on Bump Day, the field was filled to exactly 33 cars, with no cars bumped, a similar situation to 2003.
Other scheduled events included:
- May 11 – Freedom 100 testing
- May 12–13 – Second Annual Celebration of Automobiles / Emerging Technologies Day
- May 24 – Freedom 100 practice and time trials
- May 25 – Freedom 100 race, Carb Day concert featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd
- May 26 – Legends Day featuring Roger Penske: Public Drivers Meeting, Autograph sessions
- See Team and driver chart for more information
On April 18, 2012, the official entry list of thirty-four car/driver combinations was released. Former winners entered include Dario Franchitti, Hélio Castroneves and Scott Dixon. In an unusual move, Chip Ganassi Racing sponsor Target changed Franchitti's car number for the month. While Franchitti was legally entitled to using #1, the team decided instead to keep the team's #10 identity for the season, but to celebrate Target's fifty years in business, the car carried #50 for the race meet. The stylised #50 utilised the Target logo.
Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi was listed as an entry for Newman Haas Racing, but the car was later withdrawn. Lotus continued to find a team for Alesi, and struck a deal with Indy Lights team Fan Force United to run a car. Rubens Barrichello, winner of the 2002 U.S. Grand Prix at Indy was the first former winner of that event to attempt to qualify for the Indy 500.
Michel Jourdain, Jr., who had last raced at Indy sixteen years earlier in 1996, was named to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Jourdain would be the only driver in the field from the 1990s. With John Andretti not entered, not a single driver from the 1980s was in the field.
Testing and rookie orientationEdit
With the introduction of the new chassis and engine package, testing was conducted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the offseason. The first phase of testing involved Dan Wheldon, and testing was conducted on the USGP road course at Indianapolis on September 1, and on the oval in late September. Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan tested at Indianapolis in early November for Honda and Chevrolet. Test results were mixed at the Speedway, with drivers complaining of weight imbalance issues, and speeds (208–216 mph) were down from what was expected.
Open test — Wednesday, April 4Edit
- Weather: 64 °F (18 °C), partly cloudy
- Practice summary: An open test was held for veteran drivers only. Multi-car teams were allowed only one car/driver combination for the test, rookies were not allowed, and Lotus did not participate. The cars were fitted with new rear wheel guards, designed to correct aerodynamic issues experienced during previous tests. Nine drivers took part in the test. Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Hélio Castroneves, Ed Carpenter, and J. R. Hildebrand test for Chevrolet. Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, and Justin Wilson tested for Honda. The nine drivers completed 495 laps, with no incidents reported.
|1||26||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||218.625|
|2||11||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology||Chevrolet||218.439|
|3||10||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||218.094|
Texas Motor Speedway Test — Monday, May 7Edit
For the second year in a row, IndyCar held an official pre-Indy oval test. Since the Indy 500 will be the first oval race of the 2012 season, the league hosted a test for rookies to assimilate with ovals, and to test out an updated aero kit package for Texas Motor Speedway, which is a 1.5-mile 24-degree banked oval, which has been a type of circuit that was questionable in light of the Las Vegas tragedy. The aero kit package at Texas will not be used for Indianapolis or Fontana. Indianapolis and Fontana, home of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar World Championship, will use the same superspeedway aero and rules package. The test also saw Rubens Barrichello take his first competitive laps on an oval on Monday May 7.
|1||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||212.371|
|2||83||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||211.330|
|3||10||Dario Franchitti||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||210.525|
Rookie orientation program — Thursday, May 10Edit
- Weather: 63 °F (17 °C), partly cloudy
- Practice summary: On the first day of track activity in the month of May, eight rookies took to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. Of these eight driver, seven of them passed the mandatory Rookie Orientation Program with James Jakes leading the speed charts during the day with a top lap at 218.266 mph. Bryan Clauson, Josef Newgarden, Rubens Barrichello, Simon Pagenaud, Michel Jourdain Jr., and Wade Cunningham were all able to break 210 mph during the practice. Jean Alesi was the only driver not to pass the first two phases the program, running his best lap at 186.387 mph, however he was given permission to return the following day for more practice. On Friday May 11, Alesi completed the first two phases.
|1||19||James Jakes (R)||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||218.268|
|2||39||Bryan Clauson (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||217.046|
|3||67||Josef Newgarden (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||216.573|
Opening Day — Saturday, May 12Edit
- Weather: 74 °F (23 °C), partly cloudy
- Practice summary: Rookie Josef Newgarden led the way, while J.R. Hildebrand led the tow chart. Townsend Bell was not at the track, as he was competing in an American Le Mans race at Laguna Seca. Among the other drivers not making laps were Katherine Legge and Sébastien Bourdais, who were currently without an engine deal. The first cars on the track were the three Penske Racing cars, who completed a parade lap with all three cars alongside. Marco Andretti did not spend any time in his own car, but shook down the 17 and 25 cars for a couple laps.
|1||67||Josef Newgarden (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||220.250|
|2||4||J.R. Hildebrand||Panther Racing||Chevrolet||219.693|
|3||39||Bryan Clauson (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||219.632|
Open practice — Sunday, May 13Edit
- Weather: 75 °F (24 °C), partly cloudy
- Practice summary: A total of 33 cars completed 1,138 practice laps without incident. Wade Cunningham completed the third phase of the rookie test, early in the day's practice session. Six drivers completed laps over 220 mph.
|1||17||Sebastián Saavedra||AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||221.526|
|2||39||Bryan Clauson (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||221.173|
|3||67||Josef Newgarden (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||221.158|
Open practice — Monday, May 14Edit
- Weather: 78 °F (26 °C), partly cloudy
- Practice summary: After days of struggles, Jean Alesi finally completed the third phase of rookie orientation. This was accomplished with the approved use of the qualifying boost, which gave them an extra 5–6 mph. Graham Rahal's car suffered engine woes, the first of the month at Indianapolis. A total of 1,199 laps were completed without incident.
|1||67||Josef Newgarden (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||222.486|
|2||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||221.639|
|3||26||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||221.519|
Open practice — Tuesday, May 15Edit
- Weather: 79 °F (26 °C), partly cloudy
- Practice summary: The busiest day of practice thus far saw Marco Andretti set the fastest lap of the month at 223.676 mph. Thirty car/driver combinations completed 1,602 laps without incident. Most of the day focused on race setups and drafting practice. Dragon Racing drivers Sébastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge have yet to turn a lap all month, as the team is trying to get out of their contract with Lotus.
|1||26||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||223.676|
|2||3||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||Chevrolet||222.025|
|3||27||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||221.864|
Open practice — Wednesday, May 16Edit
- Weather: 76 °F (24 °C), partly cloudy
- Practice summary: Rookie Josef Newgarden led the speed chart with a lap of 222.785 mph, but also became the first car to suffer an incident on the track. With 16 minutes left in the day, Newgarden lost the back end at the exit of turn four, did two 360° spins, and tapped the inside wall on the mainstretch. Newgarden was not injured, and the car suffered only minor damage to the front wing and rear wheel assembly. A total of 30 cars completed 1,632 laps, the busiest day thus far during the month. Off the track, Dragon Racing, acquired a Chevrolet engine and began installing it in one of their cars, in preparations for Katherine Legge and Sébastien Bourdais to pass their rookie and refresher test, respectively, Thursday morning.
|1||67||Josef Newgarden (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||222.785|
|2||26||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||222.108|
|3||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||221.763|
Open practice — Thursday, May 17Edit
- Weather: 74 °F (23 °C), partly cloudy
- Practice summary: The track opened early to give extra track time for Dragon Racing drivers Sébastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge. Bourdais completed his refresher course in the morning, and Legge completed ROP phase one, both in the Dragon #6 car. The track opened for all drivers at 1 p.m. Thursday was the final day of practice with race day turbocharger boost settings of 130 kPa. A total of 29 drivers took laps, with no incidents reported. Legge was granted additional time in the evening til 6:40 p.m., during which she completed the second phase of rookie orientation.
|1||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||223.088|
|2||67||Josef Newgarden (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||222.709|
|3||38||Graham Rahal||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||222.080|
Fast Friday practice — Friday, May 18Edit
- Weather: 81 °F (27 °C), sunny
- Practice summary: "Fast Friday" practice was the final full day of practice prior to time trials. Turbocharger boost settings were elevated to 140 kPa for this session, as well as for time trials. Marco Andretti (227.540 mph) set the fastest lap of the day and of the month on a sunny, hot afternoon. All cars took laps except for Oriol Servià, who experienced engine trouble. No wall contact was reported, but Michel Jourdain, Jr. suffered a blown engine and a subsequent oil fire on his car early in the session. For the first time since 1998, the entire first week of practice was conducted without any time lost due to rain.
|1||26||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||227.540|
|2||2||Ryan Briscoe||Team Penske||Chevrolet||226.835|
|3||3||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||Chevrolet||226.716|
Saturday May 19 – Pole DayEdit
- Practice summary:
|1||3||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||Chevrolet||227.744|
|2||25||Ana Beatriz||Andretti Autosport/Conquest Racing||Chevrolet||226.187|
|3||2||Ryan Briscoe||Team Penske||Chevrolet||226.027|
|OFFICIAL REPORT[permanent dead link]|
- Qualifying draw: Results
- First segment summary: Tony Kanaan was the first driver out on the track, but his time was later disallowed after it was discovered he was missing a ballast on the rear view mirror. He would re-qualify later in the day. Mike Conway also had his time disallowed after inspection, as the car was found to be underweight. Bryan Clauson wrecked on his fourth qualifying lap, but despite a lot of damage to the car, the team was not planning on going to a backup car. Oriol Servià spun exiting turn four on his final warmup lap, hitting the inside wall and the pit wall. Ed Carpenter was bumped from the field and crashed heavily on his attempt to re-enter the field. Wade Cunningham, Mike Conway and Sébastien Bourdais were also bumped from the field of 24. Sebastián Saavedra started his qualifying run as the gun sounded, after Conway's crew changed the tires after going through technical inspection. Katherine Legge's run was waved off because her team was not in place to give the starter instructions. The nine drivers to advance to the fast nine were James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hélio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden and E.J. Viso.
- Fast Nine Shootout summary: Viso and Kanaan waved off their runs, and neither returned to the track for the session. Newgarden pulled his car from the line shortly afterward; he returned later and, in light of his team-mate's crash, set a conservative run of 224.037 mph. Ryan Briscoe set down an early quick time of 226.484 mph, as the second driver to complete a full qualifying run. Only James Hinchcliffe came close to topping his time on their first run, falling short by a scant .003 miles per hour. Castroneves made an attempt at a second run, but it was much slower and was waved off after the first lap. Power also made a second attempt, but waved it off after three laps. Hinchcliffe's second run was waved off by race control after it became clear he would not go faster on his second run. Ryan Hunter-Reay was the only car that picked up speed on a second run, but did not gain any positions. Ryan Briscoe held on to take the pole position, by the closest margin in Indianapolis 500 history.
Q1 The driver waved off and did not make an attempt during Q2. Per INDYCAR rules, Q1 times determine positions after the drivers who completed Q2.
Sunday May 20 – Bump DayEdit
- Practice summary:
|1||22||Oriol Servià||Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Chevrolet||223.752|
|2||7||Sébastien Bourdais||Dragon Racing||Chevrolet||223.479|
|3||20T||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||222.886|
- Bump Day summary: Before the opening of the track, Jay Howard and Pippa Mann announced they would not make attempts to qualify for the field, with Howard citing an engine deal that had fallen apart. There had been some rumors that IndyCar had stopped last minute deals from coming together, with Mann and Howard's deals falling apart at the last moments, though Randy Bernard stated on his Twitter account that this was not the case.
|25||7||Sébastien Bourdais||Dragon Racing||Chevrolet||223.760||3|
|26||41||Wade Cunningham (R)||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||Honda||223.258||3|
|27||22||Oriol Servià||Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Chevrolet||222.393||3|
|28||20T||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||222.324||3|
|29||14||Mike Conway||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||Honda||222.319||3|
|30||6||Katherine Legge (R)||Dragon Racing||Chevrolet||221.624||3|
|31||39||Bryan Clauson (R)||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Honda||214.455||3|
|32||78||Simona de Silvestro||HVM Racing||Lotus||214.393||3|
|33||64||Jean Alesi (R)||Fan Force United||Lotus||210.094||3|
Final practice — Friday, May 25Edit
- Weather: TBA
- Practice summary: TBA
|1||50||Dario Franchitti||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||222.360|
|2||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||222.274|
|3||26||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Chevrolet||221.702|
Pit Stop ChallengeEdit
The annual Pit Stop Competition featured twelve participants in a single-elimination bracket-style match-up. Four teams received byes, while eight teams competed in the first round. A total purse of $100,000 was at stake, with $50,000 going to the winning team. The format has two cars competing in a layout that resembles a drag race. The cars race from a standing start and drive into the pit box, change four tires, simulate a refueling, and race to a finish line a few hundred feet down the pit lane.
|4||J. R. Hildebrand|
(W) = Former Indianapolis 500 winner; (R) = Indianapolis 500 rookie
|1||2||Ryan Briscoe||27||James Hinchcliffe||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay|
|2||26||Marco Andretti||12||Will Power||3||Hélio Castroneves (W)|
|3||67||Josef Newgarden (R)||11||Tony Kanaan||5||E.J. Viso|
|4||8||Rubens Barrichello (R)||98||Alex Tagliani||38||Graham Rahal|
|5||25||Ana Beatriz||83||Charlie Kimball||9||Scott Dixon (W)|
|6||50||Dario Franchitti (W)||19||James Jakes (R)||4||J.R. Hildebrand|
|7||15||Takuma Sato||99||Townsend Bell||18||Justin Wilson|
|8||30||Michel Jourdain, Jr.||77||Simon Pagenaud (R)||17||Sebastian Saavedra|
|9||7||Sébastien Bourdais||41||Wade Cunningham (R)||22||Oriol Servià|
|10||20||Ed Carpenter||14||Mike Conway||6||Katherine Legge (R)|
|11||39||Bryan Clauson (R)||78||Simona de Silvestro||64||Jean Alesi (R)|
Ryan Briscoe led from the start, was drafted and overtaken by James Hinchcliffe, who led at the end of the first lap. The pair swapped the lead again by the end of lap two. There were no accidents at the start and the green flag was given at the first attempt to start the race.
Ryan Hunter-Reay overtook Marco Andretti before Bryan Clauson spun exiting turn one, akin to Danny Sullivan's spin in 1985, and brought out a caution period. Under caution many drivers chose to enter pit lane. Josef Newgarden stalled in the pits, was restarted and rejoined the race. 2007 and 2010 winner Dario Franchitti spun at his pit box, due to being hit from behind by E.J. Viso, but like Newgarden lost less time as the safety car was deployed. Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro were black flagged for failing to run within 105% of the front pace and duly retired. Upon the restart, which was intended to be single file, cars were seen on the pit straight before entering turn one as many as five abreast. At 32 laps Marco Andretti led from James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Briscoe. On lap 33 the stewards declared that Viso would not be penalised for the pit lane incident. No driver was able to pull away a substantial lead over the driver behind and cars behind appeared to face an aerodynamic advantage over those ahead. Takuma Sato then started to set fastest laps by lap 37 and Marco Andretti had led most laps with 15.
At the end of lap 46 the pitstops occurred for fuel and tires with Hinchcliffe and Castroneves pitting. Castroneves' pitstop was delayed due to a tire fitting problem. Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti stopped a lap later. Josef Newgarden stalled again at his second stop, unable to put the car in gear. The Ganassis of Dixon and Franchitti had been setting the fastest pace. By lap 50, one quarter distance, and after the first full pits, Marco Andretti led. There had been six leaders and twelve changes of lead.
At the end of lap 75 James Hinchcliffe pitted, then all three Penske cars pitted simultaneously, and Castroneves almost stalled, making it his second flawed pitstop. Pit stops left Dixon leading with Franchitti second some 11 second behind. On lap 79 Mike Conway was given a drive through penalty for hitting a crew member in the pits and breaking his front wing. Conway collided with Will Power and caused a caution, the second of the race, on lap 81. Conway was driving slower than Power, having just left the pits, and slid. The rear of the car lost grip and Conway slid backwards into the wall, and Power hit Conway's spinning car with nowhere left to go as he caught Conway's car on the exit of the turn. The safety car remained out until the end of lap 88.Ana Beatriz spun on the exit of turn one and hit the wall, bringing out another full course caution with her car stopping in the middle of the track. Cars pitted under caution including Hinchcliffe. Dixon and Franchitti led.
At the half distance point the leaderboard was Dixon, Franchitti, Hunter-Reay, Rahal, Wilson, Sato, Kimball, Hildebrand, Bell. On lap 110 Briscoe had a gearbox issue and ran more slowly for a lap and put the car into an emergency gearbox setting whilst running seventeenth. Hunter-Reay stopped for fuel and tires on lap 113. This left all of the top six runners being Honda powered, in contrast to pre-race predictions on relative engine performance and economy. On lap 115 Hildebrand pitted from sixteenth. Rahal pitted afterwards. On lap 119 Franchitti pit stopped from second place with no adjustments made to the car and the following lap Dixon pitted from the lead having led for a total of 37 laps by that stage. This left Sato leading, the eighteenth leader of the day. Andretti ran second. Sato pitted from the lead on lap 124. On lap 125 Hinchcliffe pitted and Barrichello who had led for one lap pitted. On lap 126 Sato lead, with Franchitti behind. On lap 128 Ryan Hunter-Reay retired with a failure of an upright on the car's suspension. On lap 134 the leaderboard stood as Sato, Franchitti, Andretti, Dixon, Rahal. On lap 145 Andretti pitted having complained about a vibration on the car and replaced the tires. Rahal also pitted just before. The caution was issued on lap 146 when Saavedra stopped on the exit of the pitlane. Starting lap 147 under caution the majority of the lead drivers stopped including Sato, Franchitti, Dixon, Rahal, Hinchcliffe and more. Following such pitstops, by lap 150 Sato led followed by Franchitti, Dixon, Hinchcliffe, Wilson, Kimball, Briscoe, Kanaan and Castroneves. On lap 153 the restart occurred and Franchiti passed Sato on the backstraight of the circuit and at the start of lap 154 Dixon passed Sato for second into turn one. On lap 160 Dixon started to pressure Franchitti and had come under pressure from Sato behind. Dixon passed for the lead but starting lap 161 Dario Franchitti retook the lead at turn one. On lap 163 Josef Newgarden stopped due to engine problems, pulling over to the left hand area of grass on the inside of the track on the backstraight between turns two and three, bringing out the safety car and another full course caution. Sato, Franchitti and Dixon pitted under caution, along with Hinchcliffe and others. Hinchcliffe stopped for a longer period than the others and appeared to run over some pit equipment upon exiting. Prior to the restart Dixon led from Franchiti and Sato. On lap 171 the race restarted. Wilson passed Sato upon the restart. Franchitti repassed Dixon. Starting lap 173 Wilson was repassed by Sato and soon was passed by Carpenter, Kanaan and Kimball having run high on the exit of the turn when passed by Sato and lost speed. By lap 176, 28 lead changes had taken place, one fewer than the 1960 record of 29 changes in one Indianapolis 500 race. Starting lap 178 when Franchitti overtook Dixon this broke the record. The leading Ganassi pair of Franchitti and Dixon appeared to express concern over fuel consumption and speed. On lap 180 Carpenter spun but did not hit the wall, spinning across the track and coming to a halt, then gesticulating at marshals to help turn the car around. This caused a full course caution and seemingly eliminated the need for the leaders to need to refuel. Carpenter then continued. On lap 187 Andretti overcalculated and drove into the wall, sliding across the track and coming to a halt.
Tony Kanaan led the race during the caution, but when the green flag waved he soon fell to fourth behind Franchitti, Dixon and Sato. Teammates Franchitti and Dixon traded the lead several times until the start of lap 199, when Franchitti took the lead from Dixon and Sato followed him through into second place. On the final lap, Sato attempted a pass on Franchitti in turn one but spun and hit the turn 1 wall. Franchitti won the race, with Dixon second and Kanaan third. Under the final caution flag of the day, the three friends lined up to cross the finish line side by side.
In Victory Lane, Franchitti dedicated his win to the memory of 2005 and 2011 champion Dan Wheldon. When asked about the final-lap incident, he said that he had moved up the track to give Sato room on the inside. Sato had a different view, claiming that Franchitti had forced him nearly into the grass and caused him to lose control. Race officials ruled it a racing incident and confirmed Franchitti as the winner.
Owing to the newly-introduced engine formula, Dario Franchitti earned the distinction of the first driver to win in both a normally aspirated and turbocharged engine since Arie Luyendyk (1990 and 1997). Franchitti's victories in 2007 and 2010 came while the series was utilizing normally aspirated engines. Franchitti also became the first driver to win the race with a V-6 engine since George Robson in 1946.
Time trials and Carb Day were covered live in the United States on NBC Sports Network. The on-air crew consisted of Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis, and Wally Dallenbach, Jr. Pit reporters included Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Derek Daly, and Townsend Bell (who also qualified for the race). Robin Miller served as a reporter and "insider."
The 2012 Indianapolis 500 (race day) was broadcast live in high definition in the United States on ABC. ESPN3 simulcast the race with an alternate feed of twelve in-car cameras. The overnight television rating for the race was 4.1, and 1.9 for the pre-race. The Fast National rating of 4.34 and 6.9 million viewers marked the highest ratings since 2008.
|Booth Announcers||Pit/garage reporters|
The IMS Radio Network broadcast the race live on approximately 400 affiliates, as well as AFN, the LeSEA broadcasting network, and World Harvest Radio. The broadcast was carried on XM channel 94 and Sirius channel 212. Mike King served as chief announcer for the 14th year (18th year overall with the crew). Davey Hamilton, who did not secure a ride for the race (the first time since 2006), returned to the booth and served as "driver expert."
For 2012, the commercial out-cues used were both renditions by the former "Voices of the 500" and those recited by drivers in the starting field.
|Booth Announcers||Turn Reporters||Pit/garage reporters|
Turn 1: not used
|Kevin Lee (north/center pits)|
Michael Young (center pits)
Nick Yeoman (south pits)
Dave Wilson (garages)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2012 Indianapolis 500.|
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Official Site
- IndyCar – Official Site
- 2012 Indianapolis 500 race broadcast
2012 São Paulo Indy 300
2012 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
2011 Indianapolis 500
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