Castroneves wins third Indianapolis 500

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 Indianapolis, Ind. (May 25) – In a day that saw mixed fortunes for Skip Barber alumni, Helio Castroneves led a top four sweep for Skip Barber trained drivers at the 93rd Indianapolis 500, scoring his third win in nine years.

The action started early as the car of Mario Moraes drifted high between turns 1 and 2, collecting 2004 Skip Barber National Champion Marco Andretti and taking them both into the wall. Moraes day ended with zero laps completed while Andretti made it back around to the pits where his crew affected repairs. Andretti returned to the track but retired after 56 laps with handling problems to finish 30th.

1999 National Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay brought out the race’s second yellow, brushing the outside wall in Turn 4, spinning across the track to make hard contact with the SAFER barrier on the inside before sliding to a halt just inside pit row. Hunter-Reay emerged unhurt and finished the day in 32nd.

The final caution of the day was the most spectacular, a two-car incident involving 2003 Skip Barber National Champ Raphael Matos and Vitor Meira, when contact between the two sent Meira’s car nose-first into the wall before sliding on its side up against the wall from Turn 1 through the south short chute, finally coming to a rest on the inside of Turn 2. Matos, who had run as high as fourth earlier in the race before a mistake in the pits dropped him down in the order, emerged unscathed and finished the race in 22nd. Meira was transported to Methodist Hospital for observation.

Castroneves dominated the final green segment of the race, stretching out a relatively comfortable two second margin of victory over 2005 Indy champ Dan Wheldon. Danica Patrick recorded the best result for a woman in the Indy 500 with a third, besting her previous best of fourth (twice) while Townsend Bell made the most of his one-off race with KV Racing to record a fine fourth place, putting four Barber Pro Series alumni in the top four positions.

The Indycar Series returns to the track this weekend for the A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin.

Official results, 93rd Indianapolis 500. 200 laps/500 miles (Skip Barber trained drivers in bold)
1. Helio Castroneves, 200, 3:19:34.6427, 150.318 mph
2. Dan Wheldon, 200
3. Danica Patrick, 200
4. Townsend Bell, 200
5. Will Power 200
6. Scott Dixon 200
7. Dario Franchitti 200
8. Ed Carpenter, 200
9. Paul Tracy 200
10. Hideki Mutoh 200
11. Alex Tagliani 200
12. Tomas Scheckter 200
13. Alex Lloyd 200
14. Scott Sharp, , 200
15. Ryan Briscoe 200
16. AJ Foyt IV 200
17. Sarah Fisher, 200
18. Mike Conway 200
19. John Andretti, 200
20. Milka Duno, 199
21. Vitor Meira 173 Contact
22. Raphael Matos, 173 Contact
23. Justin Wilson 160 Contact
24. EJ Viso, 139 Mechanical
25. Nelson Philippe, 130 Contact
26. Oriol Servia 98 Mechanical
27. Tony Kanaan. 97 Contact
28. Robert Doornbos 85 Contact
29. Davey Hamilton 79 Contact
30. Marco Andretti, 56 Handling
31. Graham Rahal 55 Contact
32. Ryan Hunter-Reay, 19 Contact
33. Mario Moraes 0 Contact

Race Statistics
Margin of victory: 1.9819 seconds
Cautions: 8 caution flags for 61 laps
Lead changes: 6 among 4 drivers
Lap leaders: Castroneves 1-7, Franchitti 8-52, Briscoe 53-63, Dixon 64-85, Franchitti 86-90, Dixon 91-141, Castroneves 142-200.

Jim Altemus

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