INDIANAPOLIS - Teammates Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti tangled on the track, perhaps costing Kanaan a chance to win. Danica Patrick — all 100 pounds of her — went looking for a fight before cooler heads prevailed.
Scott Dixon took the victory, but the walls at Indianapolis Motor Speedway claimed plenty of trophies in a mayhem-filled Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
No one was injured seriously in the seven crashes and spinouts that marred the race, but Kanaan still paid a heavy price. He went from leading the race to crashing out of it in a matter of seconds.
Kanaan put the blame his teammate and didn’t seem to take any comfort in the fact that Andretti apparently said he was sorry over the team’s radio.
“He’d better be,” Kanaan said. “That was a very stupid move. Me being a good teammate, I didn’t want to turn into him and take out two cars.”
Kanaan was leading on lap 106 when he appeared to slow on the backstretch and was passed by Scott Dixon and Andretti.
Kanaan seemed to think Andretti didn’t give him enough room to race, and that caused him to slide out of control coming out of Turn 3 — where he was blindsided by Sarah Fisher, who had nowhere to go.
Andretti went on to finish third and didn’t seem willing to take the blame.
“Stupid? I don’t know about stupid,” Andretti said. “Last-minute, maybe.”
Team owner Michael Andretti, Marco’s father, tried not to take sides.
“It’s just a tough call,” Michael Andretti said. “It’s racing. I guess he was surprised Marco was there, and it’s tough.”
Kanaan decried his tough luck at Indy, a complaint usually reserved for the Andretti family. Counting the 12 laps he led Sunday, Kanaan had led 214 career laps at Indy but still hasn’t come home with a win.
“Every time I lead, something happens,” Kanaan said.
Kanaan was seething, but his display of anger was nothing compared to Patrick’s after she was run into by Ryan Briscoe while trying to leave pit lane late in the race.
A furious Patrick then got out of her car and walked purposefully toward Briscoe’s pit for what was shaping up as a confrontation with his crew. She removed her gloves and seemed ready to rumble before track security personnel directed her back to her own pit area.
“I was ready to take it all off, my helmet and everything — because it’s hard to talk through the helmet,” Patrick said. “It’s probably a better idea that I didn’t make it all the way down there anyway because, well, as you guys know, I’m a little emotional.”
Patrick said she was waiting for Briscoe to come talk to her about the incident. After watching a replay, Briscoe seemed convinced that Patrick had plenty of room to move over and didn’t seem willing to offer an apology.
Patrick’s near-rumble was perhaps the race’s most memorable moments, but it was hardly the only spectacle at Indy this year.
Early on, rookie Graham Rahal hit the wall hard, and A.J. Foyt IV had to scramble out of his car after it caught fire in the pits — sending the newest generation of two of the sport’s most famous names home early.
Rahal, son of 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, tried to pass a car on the outside of Turn 4 and slammed into the wall on the race’s 37th lap, knocking both right-side tires loose. Rahal blamed slower cars driven by Alex Lloyd and Mario Moraes for not staying out of the way.
“Finally I got the opportunity to get by those few guys, and I thought our car was pretty good,” Rahal said. “Lloyd, for some reason, wouldn’t stay right on the bottom, and when he just came up a couple of feet, I reacted slightly and got in the (debris).”
During the ensuing caution period, Foyt’s car caught fire in the pits, and track workers scrambled to put it out. Foyt, who turned 24 on Sunday, is the grandson of four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt.
In perhaps the understatement of the day, Foyt said that catching on fire “ruined our day” because the car was no good after the crew got it cleaned up and he returned to the track.
“It was a terrible race, a miserable race,” Foyt said. “One of the worst of my life. You don’t learn nothing trying to stay out of everybody’s way, and that’s the worst way in the world to race.”
Other Indy party crashers included Justin Wilson, Jaime Camara and Marty Roth.
But perhaps the most spectacular crash was performed by Lloyd, who tagged the wall in Turn 4 on lap 151 and slid down pit road, where he bowled through some cones before screeching to a halt.
“It stopped turning and went straight up the wall,” Lloyd said. “I don’t know why. I hit the wall, and that was that.”
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