INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – 2012 featured one of the hottest race days in Indy 500 history. And the action on the track matched the heat in the air as the race featured a then-record 34 different lead changes.
Following a caution, Tony Kanaan led the field to green with six laps remaining, but he was quickly passed by the two Target-Chip Ganassi cars of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.
As the cars came to the line with five to go, Dixon passed Franchitti for the lead. Franchitti passed Dixon back, but once again Dixon had a run at the start line with three laps to go and retook the lead.
As the cars came to the line with two to go, Franchitti and Takuma Sato both passed Dixon setting up a possible thrilling finish.
Franchitti took the white flag, but Sato was in hot pursuit. As the two entered turn one, Sato ducked to the inside looking to make a race-winning pass, but made contact with Franchitti in the turn. The contact sent Sato around and into the wall as Franchitti was able to keep going.
After the race Franchitti and Sato had differing perspectives on the crash. Franchitti felt he gave Sato plenty of room and he thought Sato’s car got loose and went around. Sato believed he had the run and that Franchitti didn’t give him enough room and forced him below the white line.
The crash brought out the caution, which meant for the second time in three years, Franchitti would take the checkered flag under yellow.
Dixon came home second, and Kanaan finshed third.
The victory made Franchitti one of only ten drivers to win the 500 three times.
During his victory celebration, Franchitti donned a pair of white sunglasses in honor of the previous year’s winner, and close friend Dan Wheldon, who was tragically killed in a racing accident in Las Vegas the prior October.
After the traditional drink of milk, Franchitti also pointed to the sky in honor of Wheldon.