IndyCar Series 2012
A thrilling conclusion to Saturday night’s MAVTV 500 saw a closing-lap duel between Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti and Ed Carpenter end just after Carpenter claimed the lead, as Takuma Sato crashed and yellow flags froze the field through the final corners on the 250th – and final –lap of the IZOD IndyCar Series season-ending event at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
Franchitti and Carpenter traded the lead several times over the last six laps, a repeat of their closing-lap battle for victory at Kentucky Speedway last year – a race also won by Carpenter in a photo finish.
In addition to Franchitti, his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato and Alex Tagliani all had extended runs at the front of the 26-car starting field. As the race approached Lap 200, Honda-powered drivers were running first through fourth, led by Dixon; and at the Lap 125 mid-point in the 500-mile run, Tagliani, Sato and Franchitti were 1-2-3 for Honda.
A crash by Tony Kanaan on Lap 240 set up the wild finish. Race officials briefly halted the race to clear the track and then restarted on Lap 244 with a six-lap dash to the checkers. When the green flag waved for the final time, Franchitti was in front, with Carpenter and Ryan Hunter-Reay – who needed to finish fifth or better to claim the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers’ championship – rounding out the top three. Sato, in fourth, Dixon and a charging Helio Castroneves rounded out the potential race winners.
Franchitti and Carpenter quickly pulled out an advantage of several car lengths over the rest of the front-runners, who staged their own equally fierce battle for third through sixth. At the start of the final lap, Carpenter made one final pass on Franchitti as the pair exited Turn 2 and, just an instant later, Sato spun and crashed without injury to end the race. As a result, Dixon grabbed third, while fourth place was just enough for Hunter-Reay to edge Will Power for the series title.
Tonight’s MAVTV500 concludes the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series with Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay claiming his first IndyCar drivers championship. Honda-powered Simon Pagenaud is the 2012 IndyCar Rookie of the Year and Honda finished second in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
|1||Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing)|
|2||Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|3||Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|4||Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)|
|5||Helio Castroneves (Team Penske)|
|6||Graham Rahal (Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|7||Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)|
|8||Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport)|
|9||Katherine Legge-R (Dragon Racing)|
|10||Charlie Kimball (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|12||James Jakes (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|14||Wade Cunningham-R (A.J. Foyt Racing)|
|15||Simon Pagenaud-R (Schmidt Hamilton Racing)|
|16||Josef Newgarden-R (Sarah Fisher Hartman)|
|20||Alex Tagliani (Barracuda Racing)|
|23||Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing)|