Indy 500 2012: Frantic Finish Makes Race One for the Ages

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Dario Franchitti of Scotland, driver of the #50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, pours the victory milk over his head in victory lane in celebration of winning the IZOD IndyCar Series 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Not only did the Indy 500 come down to the final lap, but it came down to three of the sport's most well-known names duking it out in honor of their friend.

In the end, the one guy who has become accustomed to winning in the past five years was the first to the checkered flag again. 

Dario Franchitti escaped a final lap battle with Takuma Sato to beat out Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan in a race that was dedicated to their closest friend and last year's winner, the late Dan Wheldon.

It wasn't easy, but the drivers couldn't have put on a better showing.

Franchitti, a three-time defending IndyCar champion, won his third Indianapolis 500 in what will be a race long remembered.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Dario Franchitti of Scotland, driver of the #50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda holds up his fist in celebration of wining the IZOD IndyCar Series 96th running of the Indianpolis 500 mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedwa
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Franchitti came into the race winless on the season while Will Power had won the three previous races. But Power was wiped out by a multi-car accident early and it opened up the field, and victory lane, for someone else.

All the storylines aside, the race itself was good as one could ask for. Ten drivers swapped the lead 35 times, a new race record, and the temperature on the tracks was the second hottest in history.

The racing was some of the very best and there were a number of drivers who had done enough to warrant a win.

Franchitti just happened to be the best of them.

His run and this race are one to remember.