Indianapolis - Helio Castroneves capped a perfect month of May with the biggest win of all, pulling away to capture his third Indianapolis 500 just 5½ weeks after being acquitted of tax evasion charges.
With Sunday's win, he became the sixth driver to win the Indianapolis 500 three times. Castroneves, who was acquitted in the tax evasion trial just over a month ago, was sobbing with joy and climbed the fence after getting the checkered flag.
Castroneves cruised to victory with a healthy lead over Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick. They were followed by Townsend Bell, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Ed Carpenter. It was the best ever finish for Danica at the Indy 500 and the first time a female driver has finished in the top three.
It's the 15th win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Roger Penske.
There were eight caution flags and wrecks during the race. The worst crashes involved Vitor Meira and Raphael Matos. Their cars made contact and Meira's car spun 180 degrees, then went onto two wheels for several hundred yards. The car righted itself, but Meira was taken to the hospital for back pain. It was later reported that he broke two vertebra and will be fitted for a back brace.
It was a rough day for Meira, who managed to get back on the track after a fire in the pits a little earlier. Meira, who was flown by helicopter to the hospital, was complaining of extreme lower back pain but is able to move all of his extremities.
Justin Wilson brought out the seventh caution of the day when he tagged the wall. The first caution came very early in the race, in the first lap, when Mario Moraes made contact with the wall and also hit Marco Andretti, who later went on to rejoin the race.
Andretti had harsh words for Moraes:
"The kid doesn't get it. He never will. You'd think somebody would know that somebody's sitting right outside you. I was worried about that at the start and sure enough...I guess the warning should have been who I'm racing against, but it' so disappointing. I'm sitting outside this guy and he's clueless."
"I know that he hit me. I was in the front and I was holding my line and he hit me. I don't know," said Moraes.
Another serious crash was Tony Kanaan, who said something broke in the middle of the straighaway. He hit the wall and flames shot out from his tires. He checked out okay but was out of the race after that.
Vitor Meira's pit lane fire:
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