INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – 2008 marked the first 500 following the open wheel unification of IndyCar and Champ Car. Pole-sitter Scott Dixon led the field as they rolled off the grid to start the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.
During a caution, things got a little hot for AJ Foyt IV as his car caught fire on pit road. Safety crews worked quickly to put out the flames, and after changing his suit and helmet, Foyt continued racing, finishing 21st.
Fan favorite Tony Kanaan was leading on lap 105 when something went wrong with his car. Kanaan spun and crashed into Sarah Fisher, ending both of their days and adding yet another chapter to Kanaan’s Indy disappointment.
On lap 152 there was another potentially scary moment in the pits as rookie Alex Lloyd crashed coming off turn four. Lloyd spun all the way across the track and slid into the pits. Fortunately nobody was hurt.
Pit road problems were the theme of the day. On lap 169 Milka Duno spun out, bringing out the caution. As Ryan Briscoe was leaving his pit, he made contact with Danica Patrick. That contact knocked both drivers out of the race.
Patrick was none too happy about the incident and started walking down pit road, likely toward the pit of Ryan Briscoe, but a security guard prevented her from doing so. After the race, both drivers had differing opinions of what happened.
“From what I can tell, it seemed like it was relatively obvious kind of what happened and you just don’t come out of your pit box and swing three lanes out,” Patrick said. “That’s why there’s a get up to speed lane and an at speed lane and I was at speed.”
“We’re both out there trying to win the Indy 500 and when it’s time to go, we gotta go. But from what I could see, there was still plenty of room on the right side for her to get around,” Briscoe said. “And you know, I hear there are people pointing fingers but that’s not the way. And from what I could tell, there was still plenty of room for her to get around me. I’m getting around Wheldon in front of me, still staying in the middle lane and get run up the back, so it’s a real shame for both of us.”
On the track, there would be no denying Dixon. He dominated all month, and led 115 laps on the day to win his first 500.
“The whole month went off without a hitch and going into today I was definitely worried. I’m like, this month has gone way too smooth, something’s going to go wrong,” Dixon said. “But to come away with it, everything in the whole race, we had no problems in the pits, we were able to pass guys when we needed to, the car was super fast and then toward the end when we had the green flag all the way. What a perfect month, you can’t say anything more about that.”
After Indy, Dixon went on to win four more races the rest of the year and claimed his second IndyCar championship.