( 2 DVD SET - runtime 3 hours 31 mins )

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012 Indianapolis 500

96th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body IndyCar
Season 2012 IndyCar season
Date May 27, 2012
Winner United Kingdom Dario Franchitti
Winning team Chip Ganassi Racing
Average speed 167.734 mph (269.942 km/h)
Pole position Australia Ryan Briscoe
Pole speed 226.484 mph (364.491 km/h)
Fastest qualifier Australia Ryan Briscoe
Rookie of the Year Brazil Rubens Barrichello
Most laps led United States Marco Andretti
Pre-race ceremonies
National anthem Martina McBride
Back Home Again in Indiana Jim Nabors (video)
Starting Command Mari Hulman George
Pace car Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Pace car driver Guy Fieri
Honorary starter Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
Attendance TBD
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, and Eddie Cheever
Nielsen Ratings TBD / TBD

The 96th Indianapolis 500 was run on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the main race starting at noon EDT. It was the premier event of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

For the first time since 1996 all entries featured turbocharged engines, and all entries were brand new model-year chassis, as part of the ICONIC Project. This was be the first time since 2003, and only the fourth time since 1985, that all cars were a new model-year chassis.

The track opened for practice on Saturday May 12. Time trials were held May 19–20. Ryan Briscoe of Penske Racing qualified for the pole position. The final practice, traditionally dubbed "Carb Day," was held Friday May 25.

Event background

For the first time since 1947, the defending champion was unable to defend his crown due to fatality. The 2011 winner Dan Wheldon was killed in a crash during the 2011 season finale, the IZOD IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Several winners have missed the following year due to either retirements, injuries, or racing in a different series. The last time the defending champion did not participate in the race due to injury was 2004 winner Buddy Rice, who suffered a concussion during practice, and sat out the 2005 race. The last time a defending Indianapolis 500 champion did not participate in the race under any circumstances was 2007 winner Dario Franchitti, who had a full-time racing schedule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008.

Due to safety concerns, IndyCar officials announced in the 2012 State of IndyCar address that restarts would revert back to single-file for this race only during the 2012 season.

Jim Nabors, who has traditionally sung "Back Home Again in Indiana" in most years since 1972 during the pre-race ceremonies, was not be able to attend the race due to health reasons. The Speedway sent a film crew to record him performing the song at his home in Hawaiʻi, aired it on race morning.

Going into the month, there was growing concern about filling the field to the traditional 33 cars. This was due in part to the struggles of Lotus, and lease issues in the first year of the new engine package, namely involving Dragon Racing. However, on Bump Day, the field was filled to exactly 33 cars, with no cars bumped, a similar situation to 2003.


Date(s) Day(s) Event
May 10 Thursday Rookie Orientation
May 12–18 Saturday–Friday Indianapolis 500 Practice
May 19 Saturday Pole Day Time Trials
May 20 Sunday Bump Day Time Trials
May 25 Friday Carb Day
Indianapolis 500 final practice
Pit Stop Challenge
May 27 Sunday 96th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race

Other scheduled events included:[12]

  • May 10 – Indy 500 Golf Outing
  • May 11 – Freedom 100 testing
  • May 12–13 – Second Annual Celebration of Automobiles / Emerging Technologies Day
  • May 23 – Community Day
  • May 24 – Freedom 100 practice and time trials
  • May 25 – Freedom 100 race, Carb Day concert featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • May 26 – Legends Day featuring Roger Penske: Public Drivers Meeting, Autograph sessions

Starting grid

(W) = Former Indianapolis 500 winner; (R) = Indianapolis 500 rookie

Row Inside Middle Outside
1 2 Australia Ryan Briscoe 27 Canada James Hinchcliffe 28 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay
2 26 United States Marco Andretti 12 Australia Will Power 3 Brazil Hélio Castroneves (W)
3 67 United States Josef Newgarden (R) 11 Brazil Tony Kanaan 5 Venezuela E.J. Viso
4 8 Brazil Rubens Barrichello (R) 98 Canada Alex Tagliani 38 United States Graham Rahal
5 25 Brazil Ana Beatriz 83 United States Charlie Kimball 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon (W)
6 50 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti (W) 19 United Kingdom James Jakes (R) 4 United States J.R. Hildebrand
7 15 Japan Takuma Sato 99 United States Townsend Bell 18 United Kingdom Justin Wilson
8 30 Mexico Michel Jourdain, Jr. 77 France Simon Pagenaud (R) 17 Colombia Sebastian Saavedra
9 7 France Sebastien Bourdais 41 New Zealand Wade Cunningham (R) 22 Spain Oriol Servià
10 20 United States Ed Carpenter 14 United Kingdom Mike Conway 6 United Kingdom Katherine Legge (R)
11 39 United States Bryan Clauson (R) 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro 64 France Jean Alesi (R)

Race summary


Ryan Briscoe led from the start, was drafted and overtaken by James Hinchcliffe, who led at the end of the first lap. The pair swapped the lead again by the end of lap two. There were no accidents at the start and the green flag was given at the first attempt to start the race.

First half

Ryan Hunter-Reay overtook Marco Andretti before Bryan Clauson spun exiting turn one, akin to Danny Sullivan's spin in 1985, and brought out a caution period. Under caution many drivers chose to enter pit lane. Josef Newgarden stalled in the pits, was restarted and rejoined the race. 2007 and 2010 winner Dario Franchitti spun at his pit box, due to being hit from behind by E.J. Viso, but like Newgarden lost less time as the safety car was deployed. Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro were black flagged for failing to run within 105% of the front pace and duly retired. Upon the restart, which was intended to be single file, cars were seen on the pit straight before entering turn one as many as five abreast. At 32 laps Marco Andretti led from James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Briscoe. On lap 33 the stewards declared that Viso would not be penalised for the pit lane incident. No driver was able to pull away a substantial lead over the driver behind and cars behind appeared to face an aerodynamic advantage over those ahead. Takuma Sato then started to set fastest laps by lap 37 and Marco Andretti had led most laps with 15.

At the end of lap 46 the pitstops occurred for fuel and tyres with Hinchcliffe and Castroneves pitting. Castroneves' pitstop was delayed due to a tyre fitting problem. Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti stopped a lap later. Josef Newgarden stalled again at his second stop, unable to put the car in gear. The Ganassis of Dixon and Franchitti had been setting fastest pace. By lap 50, one quarter distance, and after the first full pits, Marco Andretti led. There had been six leaders and twelve changes of lead.

At the end of lap 75 James Hinchcliffe pitted, then all three Penske cars pitted simultaneously, and Castroneves almost stalled, making it his second flawed pitstop. Pit stops left Dixon leading with Franchitti second some 11 second behind. On lap 79 Mike Conway was given a drive through penalty for hitting another car in the pits. After this drive through Conway collided with Will Power and caused a caution, the second of the race, on lap 81. Conway was driving slower than Power, having just left the pits, and slid. The rear of the car lost grip and Conway slid backwards into the wall, and Power hit Conway's spinning car with nowhere left to go as he caught Conway's car on the exit of the turn. The safety car remained out until the end of lap 88. Ana Beatriz spun on the exit of turn one, and hit the wall, bringing out another full course caution with her car stopping in the middle of the track. Cars pitted under caution including Hinchcliffe. Dixon and Franchitti led.

Second half

At the half distance point the leaderboard was Dixon, Franchitti, Hunter-Reay, Rahal, Wilson, Sato, Kimball, Hildebrand, Bell. On lap 110 Briscoe had a gearbox issue and ran more slowly for a lap and put the car into an emergency gearbox setting whilst running seventeenth. Hunter-Reay stopped for fuel and tyres on lap 113. This left all of the top six runners being Honda powered, in contrast to pre-race predictions on relative engine performance and economy. On lap 115 Hildebrand pitted from sixteenth. Rahal pitted afterwards. On lap 119 Franchitti pit stopped from second place with no adjustments made to the car and the flowing lap Dixon pitted from the lead having lead for a total of 37 laps by that stage. This lead Sato leading, the eighteenth leader of the day. Andretti ran second. Sato pitted from the lead on lap 124. On lap 125 Hinchcliffe pitted and Barrichello who had led for one lap pitted. On lap 126 Sato lead, with  Franchitti behind. On lap 128 Ryan Hunter-Reay retired with a failure of an upright on the car's suspension. On lap 134 the  leaderboard stood as Sato, Franchitti, Andretti, Dixon, Rahal. On lap 145 Andretti pitted having complained about a vibration on the car and replaced the tyres. Rahal also pitted just before. The caution was issued on lap 146 when Saavedra stopped on the exit of the pitlane. Starting lap 147 under caution the majority of the lead drivers stopped including Sato, Franchitti, Dixon, Rahal, Hinchcliffe and more. Following such pitstops, by lap 150 Sato lead followed by Franchitti, Dixon, Hinchcliffe, Wilson, Kimball, Briscoe, Kanaan and Castroneves. On lap 153 the restart occurred and Franchiti passed Sato on the backstraight of the circuit and at the start of lap 154 Dixon passed Sato for second into turn one. On lap 160 Dixon started to pressure Franchitti and had come under pressure from Sato behind. Dixon passed for the lead but starting lap 161 Dario Franchitti retook the lead at turn one. On lap 163 Josef Newgarden stopped due to engine problems, pulling over to the left hand area of grass on the inside of the track on the backstraight between turns two and three, bringing out the safety car and another full course caution. Sato, Franchitti and Dixon pitted under caution, along with Hinchcliffe and others. Hinchcliffe stopped for a longer period than the others and appeared to run over some put equipment upon exiting. Prior to the restart Dixon lead from Franchiti and Sato. On lap 171 the race restarted. Wilson passed Sato upon the restart. Franchitti repassed Dixon. Starting lap 173 Wilson was repassed by Sato and soon was passed by Carpenter, Kanaan and Kimball having run high on the exit of the turn when passed by Sato and lost speed. By lap 176 28 lead changes had taken place, one fewer than the 1960 record of 29 changes in one Indianapolis 500 race. Starting lap 178 when Franchitti overtook Dixon this broke the record. The leading Ganassi pair of Franchitti and Dixon appeared to express concern over fuel consumption and speed. On lap 180 Carpenter spun but did not hit the wall, spinning across the track and coming to a halt, then gesticulating at marshals to help turn the car around. This caused a full course caution and seemingly eliminated the need for the leaders to need to refuel. Carpenter then continued. On lap 187 Andretti overcalculated and drove into the wall, sliding across the track and coming to a halt.


Tony Kanaan led the race during the caution, but when the green flag waved he soon fell to fourth behind Franchitti, Dixon and Sato. Teammates Franchitti and Dixon traded the lead several times until the start of lap 199, when Franchitti took the lead from Dixon and Sato followed him through into second place. On the final lap, Sato attempted a pass on Franchitti in turn one but spun out and hit the turn 1 wall. Franchitti won the race, with Dixon second and Kanaan third. Under the final caution flag of the day, the three friends lined up to cross the finish line side by side.

In Victory Lane, Franchitti dedicated his win to the memory of 2011 champion Dan Wheldon. When asked about the final-lap incident, he said that he had moved up the track to give Sato room on the inside. Sato had a different view, claiming that Franchitti had forced him nearly into the grass and caused him to lose control. Race officials ruled it a racing incident and confirmed Franchitti as the winner.

Race results

Pos No. Driver Team Engine Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points
1 50 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 200 2:58:51.2532 16 23 54
2 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 200 + 0.0295 15 53 44
3 11 Brazil Tony Kanaan KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 200 + 0.0677 8 7 42
4 22 Spain Oriol Servià Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet 200 + 2.9166 27 0 38
5 2 Australia Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Chevrolet 200 + 3.6721 1 15 45
6 27 Canada James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 200 + 4.0962 2 5 41
7 18 United Kingdom Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda 200 + 4.2430 21 0 30
8 83 United States Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 200 + 4.6056 14 3 28
9 99 United States Townsend Bell Schmidt–Hamilton Motorsports Honda 200 + 5.6168 20 0 26
10 3 Brazil Hélio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 200 + 7.6352 6 0 29
11 8 Brazil Rubens Barrichello (R) KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 200 + 7.9240 10 2 23
12 98 Canada Alex Tagliani Team Barracuda – BHA Honda 200 + 8.2543 11 2 22
13 38 United States Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 200 + 8.7539 12 0 21
14 4 United States J.R. Hildebrand Panther Racing Chevrolet 200 + 11.3423 18 0 20
15 19 United Kingdom James Jakes (R) Dale Coyne Racing Honda 200 + 13.4494 17 0 19
16 77 France Simon Pagenaud (R) Schmidt–Hamilton Motorsports Honda 200 + 14.1382 23 0 18
17 15 Japan Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 199 Contact 19 31 17
18 5 Venezuela E.J. Viso KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 199 + 1 lap 9 0 18
19 30 Mexico Michel Jourdain, Jr. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 199 + 1 lap 22 0 16
20 7 France Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing Chevrolet 199 + 1 lap 25 0 15
21 20 United States Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 199 + 1 lap 28 0 15
22 6 United Kingdom Katherine Legge (R) Dragon Racing Chevrolet 199 + 1 lap 30 0 15
23 25 Brazil Ana Beatriz Andretti Autosport/Conquest Racing Chevrolet 190 + 10 laps 13 0 16
24 26 United States Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 187 Contact 4 59 23
25 67 United States Josef Newgarden (R) Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda 161 Mechanical 7 0 18
26 17 Colombia Sebastián Saavedra Andretti Autosport/AFS Racing Chevrolet 143 Electrical 24 0 14
27 28 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 123 Suspension 3 0 22
28 12 Australia Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 79 Contact 5 0 20
29 14 United Kingdom Mike Conway A. J. Foyt Enterprises Honda 78 Contact 29 0 13
30 39 United States Bryan Clauson (R) Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda 46 Mechanical 31 0 13
31 41 New Zealand Wade Cunningham (R) A. J. Foyt Enterprises Honda 42 Electrical 26 0 13
32 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro HVM Racing Lotus 10 Black Flagged 32 0 13
33 64 France Jean Alesi (R) Fan Force United Lotus 9 Black Flagged 33 0 13
Under caution

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