Indy 500 Winner

The 2005 Indianapolis 500 is underway. Will the winner be the highly publicized rookie Danica Patrick or someone else?

For those, like myself, uninterested in watching the race, ESPN is live blogging the race, providing the highlights.

Update (1550):

3:43 ET: With 38 laps to go, the race has gone to a green flag again.

3:35 ET: The front of Patrick’s car was fixed quickly and she returns to the track, under caution still, in 10th place.

The top 5 order, with 40 laps to go, is: Wheldon, Meira, Franchitti, Bourdais and Kanaan.

3:31 ET: Patrick spins and triggers a multi-car crash on lap 155. Her car is in the pits being worked on.


4:14 ET: Dan Wheldon has won the 89th Indy 500. Vitor Meira passed Danica Patrick, and so did Bryan Herta, but Sebastien Bourdais crashed with one lap to go, bringing the yellow flag and clinching the win for Wheldon.

Patrick finishes fourth, the same place she started, both of which were milestones as no woman previously had done so well.

4:10 ET: With 6 laps to go, Wheldon passes Patrick again.

4:08 ET: On a restart with 10 laps to go, Patrick passes Wheldon to retake the lead. Fans are on their feet and cheering as Patrick’s storybook month plays out spectacularly.

4:02 ET: Dan Wheldon passes Danica Patrick by a whisker at the line as a yellow flag comes out due to Kosuke Matsuura’s wheel breaking with 14 laps to go.

3:54 ET: Guess who’s leading? Hope you said Danica Patrick. With 21 laps remaining, Patrick leads following a pit-stop sequence. The question now is, does she have enough fuel to make it to the finish?

Oh, so close.

Danica Patrick makes a couple of rookie mistakes (AP – Fox)
Patrick finishes amazing 4th at Indy 500 (AP – MSNBC)

Danica Patrick could hang with the boys. Then again, she was still just a rookie at the Indianapolis 500. Patrick, the highest-starting female driver in Indy history, became the first woman to lead a lap in the 89-year history of the race but her chances of winning were hurt by a couple of rookie mistakes.

First, the 23-year-old Patrick stalled her car in the pits, costing her precious time. Then, after working her way back up to seventh, she lost control with 45 laps to go while the yellow flag was out. The cars were coming up to speed to take green when Patrick suddenly swerved left in front of Tomas Enge, shearing off the nose cone and left wing on the front of her No. 16 car. The crash knocked out Enge and sent Tomas Scheckter spinning into the inside wall. “I was beside Danica and she just spun into me,” Sheckter said. “Luckily for her, someone was there to keep her from spinning. If I’m not there, she would have spun into the wall.”

Patrick dipped into the pits, managed to get car repaired and got back on the track in 10th place. “I’m sorry,” Patrick told her crew over the radio. “They were going so slow. I slowed down, but as soon as I went up high it just stuck.”

The Fox link also has, quite naturally, a Danica Patrick photo gallery.

Patrick has to be the most hyped 4th place finisher in Indy history, too. Still, an impressive performance by a rookie with so much attention on her.


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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    As I type this comment late in the race she’s in the leader’s position. She’ll be the big winner regardless of who actually finishes first. Anybody else will be lucky to get the time of day.

  2. ozzippit says:

    At least half the prospective audiences dropped out when TV showed pix of her mother and fiance watching the race. Somewhere, too, I saw a picture of Danica wearing an engagement ring containing a diamond as big as your eyeball, so the average male racing fan can quit dreaming.

  3. bryan says:

    Yes, she only finished fourth because of the caution. She was actually running on fumes at the end and wouldn’t have gotten that finish if they’d stayed green for the final lap.

    Color me unimpressed, especially after hearing Brent Musberger struggle to remember that there were 32 other drivers in the race.

  4. M. Murcek says:

    “Anyone who is popular is bound to be disliked.”

    Yogi Berra