While most fans came to the 89th Indy 500 in mass numbers to see female rookie Danica Patrick try to become the first female to win the most coveted race in auto racing and she certainly did not disappoint as she battled Dan Wheldon to the end and finished fourth, a track and series best for a female driver.
We overcame so many obstacles today and it is a great day for this team and the series, but we didn’t win it,” said Patrick through a drove of media after the race.
Despite Patrick not winning today’s Indy 500, she certainly helped it become one of the best Indy races in the 89 year history of this prestigious race.
Wheldon who led for just enough of today’s race gave team owner Michael Andretti something to be happy about during his ride around the track, his first 500 victory as a car owner.
“I’ve finally won the Indy 500!” Michael Andretti, Wheldon’s team owner, beamed in Victory Lane. “No more curse!”
“It feels as good as if I won myself,” said Michael Andretti, who led more laps at Indy than any other nonwinner before retiring from the cockpit after the 2003 race. Andretti even stole a swig of winner’s milk from Wheldon, who chugged nearly half the bottle himself.
“This has been a dream come true for me. I’ve loved the Indianapolis 500 ever since I was a young kid,” he said. “I came here and watched it for the first time in 1999. I’m having an emotional moment. I’m so proud.”
Wheldon averaged 157.603 mph and covered the 500 miles in 3 hours, 10 minutes and 21.0769 seconds. He stands to earn about $1.5 million of the more than $10 million purse at Monday’s victory banquet.