Franchitti, Castroneves thirst for the legacy of four Indy 500 wins
BY HERB GOULD email@example.com May 25, 2013 12:50AM
Dario Franchitti (left) of Scotland and Helio Castroneves of Brazil both want to be the first foreign-born four-time Indy 500 winner and could achieve it Sunday. | Richard Drew~AP
AT A GLANCE
What: 500-mile race in IndyCar series; 200 laps.
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2-1/2 mile oval).
When: 11 a.m. Sunday.
On TV: Ch. 7 (coverage begins at 10 a.m.).
Tickets: For information, call 800-822-INDY or visit indy500.com.
Last year: Dario Franchitti won the race for the third time. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver won a last-lap fight with Takuma Sato, their tires briefly touching to send Sato spinning hard into the wall. Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon finished second.
Car number in parentheses; all cars Dallara chassis.
1. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevy, 2:37.3689 (228.762 mph).
2. (26) Carlos Munoz, Chevy, 2:37.6581 (228.342).
3. (25) Marco Andretti, Chevy, 2:37.7139 (228.261).
4. (5) EJ Viso, Chevy, 2:37.7907 (228.150).
5. (2) AJ Allmendinger, Chevy, 2:37.8264 (228.099).
6. (12) Will Power, Chevy, 2:37.8342 (228.087).
7. (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Chevy, 2:37.9614 (227.904).
8. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevy, 2:38.0596 (227.762).
9. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Chevy, 2:38.5411 (227.070).
10. (4) JR Hildebrand, Chevy, 2:38.2830 (227.441).
11. (98) Alex Tagliani, Honda, 2:38.3209 (227.386).
12. (11) Tony Kanaan, Chevy, 2:38.6260 (226.949).
13. (22) Oriol Servia, Chevy, 2:38.7206 (226.814).
14. (19) Justin Wilson, Honda, 2:39.0318 (226.370).
15. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevy, 2:39.1543 (226.196).
16. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 2:39.1808 (226.158).
17. (10) Dario Franchitti, Honda, 2:39.2434 (226.069).
18. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 2:39.3681 (225.892).
19. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 2:39.3768 (225.880).
20. (16) James Jakes, Honda, 2:39.4268 (225.809).
21. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 2:39.5219 (225.674).
22. (60) Townsend Bell, Chevy, 2:39.5438 (225.643).
23. (8) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 2:39.8117 (225.265).
24. (78) Simona De Silvestro, Chevy, 2:39.8398 (225.226).
25. (21) Josef Newgarden, Honda, 2:39.4816 (225.731).
26. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 2:39.9948 (225.007).
27. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevy, 2:40.0503 (224.929).
28. (55) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 2:40.0907 (224.873).
29. (18) Ana Beatriz, Honda, 2:40.5823 (224.184).
30. (63) Pippa Mann, Honda, 2:40.7109 (224.005).
31. (41) Conor Daly, Honda, 2:41.0145 (223.582).
32. (91) Buddy Lazier, Chevy, 2:41.1158 (223.442).
33. (81) Katherine Legge, Honda, 2:41.3079 (223.176).
Updated: June 27, 2013 7:06AM
INDIANAPOLIS — For all the stories about heartbreak at the Brickyard, two drivers will have an opportunity to race into history at the 97th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti each will be gunning for his fourth 500 victory. In a century of racing, only three drivers — A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears — have reached that pinnacle. And all three are legends.
‘‘I dream every night about it,’’ Castroneves said. ‘‘But there are so many other drivers that are thinking they want to get their first. I’m not thinking about the result. I’m thinking about how I’m going to get the result.’’
Franchitti, who turned 40 on May 19, put himself in this position by winning his third 500 in six years last May. He also knows the place in history that would come with a fourth win.
‘‘I’m very happy to have won one,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s so bloody difficult. Look at some of the great drivers that didn’t get the opportunity even to win one. Three is beyond anything I expected. But I really want the fourth.’’
For all his success, even Castroneves has had his Indy demons. Bidding for a third straight victory in 2003, he was nipped at the finish line by Penske teammate Gil de Ferran.
‘‘I feel blessed to be in this opportunity, to be in this elite group,’’ said Castroneves, who starts fourth for Team Penske. ‘‘A lot of guys have been in very good position, and unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. But this place is more about so many things that can go wrong, and so few things that can go right. Certainly, I’m happy. I have a great chance to keep going.’’
The Indianapolis 500 and history are so intertwined. From its early years to today, its vehicles are like a timeline of automobile development. And its drivers are celebrated for their disappointments as well as their successes.
Winless Tony Kanaan, who has led 221 laps, has stepped in for Michael Andretti (431) as the driver with the most laps led without a checkered flag.
Michael’s son, Marco, is a popular pick to win the race and shake the so-called Andretti Curse, which spans three generations, including patriarch Mario Andretti, who has the family’s lone Indy 500 win.
‘‘It’s always nice to be one of the favorites,’’ Marco said. ‘‘It helps the confidence. I think we have a great shot at winning. But we have to go out and do it.’’
Marco understands the questions about Andretti heartbreak at the Brickyard.
‘‘It is a story,’’ he said. ‘‘We never address it as the curse, but there’s been plenty of dinner conversations, plane-ride conversations, about how it just slipped away for all three of us. Seventy-plus starts for only one victory is frustrating. I could have won three of these already. If we’re able to win one, it’s not going to be enough. But all of our frustrations as a family are going to come out in that moment — and it’s going to be worth it.’’
Four women — Ana Beatriz (Brazil), Simona de Silvestro (Switzerland), Katherine Legge and Pippa Mann (both from Britain) — will be in this year’s Indy field. But given that they’ll all start near the back, and that none has attracted the spotlight the way Danica Patrick did, there’s more focus on whether an American driver can take center stage.
Ed Carpenter, a Butler grad from Indianapolis, will be the first American to sit on the pole since 2006, when Sam Hornish Jr. won from the pole. If Carpenter could duplicate Hornish’s feat, it would bolster the sagging profile of the IndyCar series.
‘‘Without a doubt, we need an American,’’ said Graham Rahal, an American contender along with Marco Andretti and Carpenter. ‘‘It’d just be nice to have an American win.’’
Foyt agreed, saying, ‘‘What made Indy as great as it was before [was] that 90 percent of the drivers were American drivers. That’s where everybody builds a big fan base.’’
Carpenter’s allure is multi-faceted. Not only is he a hometown hero, but he owns his own one-car team and topped all the big teams on Pole Day.
‘‘Ed did a fantastic job,’’ Franchitti said. ‘‘He and his team, they nailed it. For a local Indiana boy to be on pole, that’s great.’’
Carpenter isn’t drawing any conclusions from his qualifying victory.
‘‘I might have a little more confidence, but this race has been won from all over,’’ he said. ‘‘I stated 27th last year, and we were running third with 20 laps to go. If we don’t come out and do a good job on race day, the first part of the month won’t mean much.’’
Everyone in this race appreciates how difficult it is to win. That’s what would make a fourth win by Franchitti or Castroneves so impressive.