Sunday, May 29, 2011

An incredible finish to the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 - JR Hildebrand crashes on last lap and Dan Wheldon wins.

(Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Take two on this Sunday, Memorial Day weekend triple header with the Indianapolis 500 that rolled off just after noontime here on the East Coast. The Indianapolis 500, one of the biggest spectacles in Motorsports today lived up to its name in the final 30 laps with an incredible finish.

The 23-year-old Californian, JR Hildebrand, a rookie in the Indianapolis 500 came in to Sunday’s Indy 500 as an unknown, but he is well-known now. Not for winning the Indy 500 because he didn’t, but for his teams strategy moves and his driving during the Indy 500 that put him into position to possibly win the Indy 500.

During the last 30 laps after the final restart that included several teams including Dario Franchitti and JR Hildebrand made a pit stop despite the fact that none of them could make it to the checkered flag without saving fuel. Franchitti would set off trying to make his way to the front while the rookie would hold back saving enough fuel early in the run so he could race hard in the final laps.

While the front runners would all have to pit for at least fuel, they several drivers would swap the lead around including Danica Patrick would lead several laps before pitting and that would pit the drivers who pitted on the final caution (if they saved fuel) in the drivers seat in the final laps.

For Franchitti, he would fall off the pass and would end up pitting on the final lap in order to make finish the race, that put JR Hildebrand into the lead. When he took the white flag, leading the Indy 500, you could see the fans on their feet and cheering for this rookie.

Down the back straightaway and into turn 3 on the final lap, it looked like the rookie was going to win it, but disaster struck as a lap car was on the bottom and JR Hildebrand would make a mistake that so many rookie’s have made in the past and go too wide coming out of turn 4 and nail the outside wall hard.

Coming down the front straightaway in a wrecked racecar, JR Hildebrand would get passed just feet from the finish line by Dan Wheldon and Wheldon would win the 2011 Indianapolis 500, but the rookie JR Hildebrand would come across in second place. What a tough way to finish this one, but one things for sure, fans now know who JR Hildebrand is now and hopefully he will get another shot at Indy next season.

Hats off to Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport for winning the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 and just think, Dan Wheldon doesn’t have a full time run for the remainder of the season.

Never count out anybody, even a rookie at Indianapolis, this race sure does do stand things and has seen rookie winners before. Now I can’t wait until next season. 



Full Disclosure: This article was originally published on Brian Vermette's former blog called BVinsight, however once RaceDriven.com was re-launched and rebrand, BVinsight was renamed BVDaily with 33 of 44 articles being published here on RaceDriven due to subject.