Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Date  May 29, 2011

3 hours 40 mins  / Full race 2 dvd set

The 95th Indianapolis 500 was held on May 29, 2011 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the premier event of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. The track opened for practice on May 14, and time trials were held on May 21–22. The race was won by Dan Wheldon (his second after a previous win in 2005). American rookie J. R. Hildebrand was leading the race when he hit the wall on the final turn of the final lap. As Hildebrand's wrecked car was sliding down the main stretch, Wheldon slipped by in the final 1,000 feet to take the victory. Hildebrand slid across the line to place second.

The race was the third of the three-year long Centennial era, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of the track (1909) and 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500 (1911). The race was suspended during WWI (1917–18) and WWII (1942–45), therefore the 100th running of the event will not occur until 2016.

The race has been billed as "The Most Important Race in History."[It was the final Indy 500 contested with the current normally aspirated "spec" Dallara IR-05/Honda Indy V-8 machines. In 2012, the series will switch to a new chassis and utilize turbocharged engines.

Starting grid

(W) = Former Indianapolis 500 winner; (R) = Indianapolis 500 rookie

177Canada Alex Tagliani9New Zealand Scott Dixon (W)2Spain Oriol Servià
299United States Townsend Bell12Australia Will Power98United Kingdom Dan Wheldon (W)
344United States Buddy Rice (W)67United States Ed Carpenter10United Kingdom Dario Franchitti (W)
45Japan Takuma Sato14Brazil Vitor Meira4United States J. R. Hildebrand (R)
506Canada James Hinchcliffe (R)30Belgium Bertrand Baguette11United States Davey Hamilton
63Brazil Hélio Castroneves (W)43United States John Andretti59Venezuela E. J. Viso
722United Kingdom Justin Wilson88United Kingdom Jay Howard (R)07South Africa Tomas Scheckter
882Brazil Tony Kanaan78Switzerland Simona de Silvestro23Canada Paul Tracy
97United States Danica Patrick6Australia Ryan Briscoe26United States Marco Andretti
1083United States Charlie Kimball (R)38United States Graham Rahal19United Kingdom Alex Lloyd
1136United Kingdom Pippa Mann (R)24Brazil Ana Beatriz41United States Ryan Hunter-Reay



First Half

The 95th running of the Indianapolis 500 began at 12:00 PM EDT on a hot, muggy day, shortly after the traditional pre-race ceremonies of the invocation, national anthem, and the singing Back Home Again in Indiana by Jim Nabors. Mari Hulman George gave the staring command around 12:05 PM, as the cars took two parade laps and one pace lap, led by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A. J. Foyt, who was driving the pace car. The green flag came out to see Scott Dixon pass by pole-sitter Alex Tagliani to take the early lead in the race. The first 20 laps of the race saw a relatively smooth pace set in. Unlike past years there was no accident in the first two laps, with the first caution coming out on Lap 18 when Takuma Sato made contact with the wall. During the first caution period many team made pit-stops including Will Power who left the pit area and drove a lap without a left-rear tire, which all but eliminated the IndyCar points leader from having an opportunity to win the race.

Shortly following the green flag restart (which was changed to a two-car abreast start during the drivers meetings) Sato's teammate, E. J. Viso was turned heading into turn 1 by James Hinchcliffe and was the next driver to make contact with the wall and eliminate himself from the race. Following the cleanup and restart after Viso's crash saw the field taking shape and aligning themselves for the long 400+ miles remaining. Simona de Silvestro, who was burned in a crash earlier in the month, was not able to pick up speed in her back-up car and quickly fell from 23rd position, to last. On lap 44, it was clear that the car would not be able to keep up with the field, she was called into the pits and her day was over.

Defending winner Dario Franchitti, along with Scott Dixon, Alex Tagliani, and Oriol Servià all began to take their places at the top of the field with each of them leading more than 10 laps in the race respectively. Later accidents occurred with rookies Jay Howard and James Hinchcliffe. Howard lost a right-rear wheel on lap 61, while Hinchcliffe slid high in turn 3 and bounced off the wall at the halfway mark.

Second Half

Following James Hinchcliffe's crash on lap 101, the green flag remained out for over 40 laps as many different drivers shared the lead and got in position for the shootout in the final 10. On lap 148, it was the pole-sitter Alex Tagliani who would be called into pit lane after making slight contact with the wall. Tagliani, who had not had a good day, started in first, fell all the way down to 12th before the race, was finished for the day, with his final finish position being 28th. One of the few multi-car crashes of the day occurred on lap 158 between Ryan Briscoe and Townsend Bell. Up to that point in the day, Team Penske had been running slow and really did not have a good shot at any of their drivers winning the race, and with the crash and elimination of Ryan Briscoe all hope seemed gone as Helio Castroneves and Will Power were both down due to bad pit stops and slow cars. With no more lengthy cautions the remainder of the race it turned into a fight for the lead as the laps dwindled down.

As the race prepared to go back to green on lap 164, a handful of drivers ducked into the pit area to top off their fuel, in hopes of going the distance without another pit stop. Dario Franchitti and J. R. Hildebrand were among those who gave up their track position, and topped off their fuel.

For the first time in his Indy career, Graham Rahal took the lead of the race and held it for six laps. However, he lost a battle to Scott Dixon and was forced to a pit stop which dropped out of the top five. However, he was able to finish the race in third place. Tony Kanaan also saw his flirt with Indy glory as he made his way all from the middle of the pack to second place at one point, but was forced as well to drop on a pit stop with less than 20 laps to go. As the race came to down to its final 15 laps, it was still Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, two Chip Ganassi Racing cars and former winners, who looked like they would win the race. However, late in the race after a series of pit stops by most in the lead, it was an unlikely Bertrand Baguette who would lead the race as the action came to it climax. With both Dixon and Franchitti, not expecting another yellow and taking the pits, both falling back, it seemed like a new face would be awarded the winner of the Indianapolis 500.

The final ten laps became a battle between Dixon, Baguette, Dan Wheldon, and rookie J. R. Hildebrand. It was Dixon and Baguette who battled for the lead with about eight laps to go. With three laps to go, Baguette pitted for fuel and Dixon slowed to conserve fuel. This gave the lead to J.R. Hildebrand as Wheldon moved into second place. As the field was given the white flag, it seemed all but certain a rookie would win the 500 for the first time since Castroneves won it in 2001. Hildebrand moved his way down into the north short chute and down into turn four. Coming in on the front stretch the rook went high to avoid the slower car of Charlie Kimball, who was on the inside line, and collided with the wall. Hildebrand finished the race despite the collision, but not before Dan Wheldon was able to come from behind and cross the line first.


Dan Wheldon become the 18th person to win more two or more Indianapolis 500's, his first coming in 2005. The 200th lap was the only one he led in the race, breaking Joe Dawson's 99-year-old record for the fewest laps led by an Indy winner. As he took to victory lane, he celebrated with the traditional ceremonies of the wreath, glass of milk, and the presentation of the Borg Warner Trophy. As the celebration was occurring, his former team Panther Racing considered filing for a review, stating that Wheldon made an illegal pass during the yellow on Hildebrand's car. In the end, video showed that the yellow did not come out until after Wheldon had passed, and even if it would have come out before the pass, the president of competition ruled that Hildebrand's car was a "wounded car", and was therefore allowed to be passed in the race.

Wheldon's average speed of 170.265 mph was the fourth-fastest Indy 500 in history, and was the first Indy 500 completed in less than three hours since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000.


J. R. Hildebrand crashed on the final lap
PosNo.DriverTeamLapsTime/RetiredGridLaps LedPoints
198United Kingdom Dan WheldonBryan Herta Autosport2002:56:11.72676159
24United States J. R. Hildebrand (R)Panther Racing200+2.108612744
338United States Graham RahalChip Ganassi Racing200+5.594929638
482Brazil Tony KanaanKV Racing TechnologyLotus200+7.487022036
59New Zealand Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing200+9.543427345
62Spain Oriol ServiàNewman/Haas Racing200+9.5435*
730Belgium Bertrand BaguetteRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing200+23.9631141130
807South Africa Tomas ScheckterSH Racing200+24.329921028
926United States Marco AndrettiAndretti Autosport200+25.741127025
107United States Danica PatrickAndretti Autosport200+26.4483251023
1167United States Ed CarpenterSarah Fisher Racing200+27.03758326
1210United Kingdom Dario FranchittiChip Ganassi Racing200+56.416795124
1383United States Charlie Kimball (R)Chip Ganassi Racing199+1 lap28020
1412Australia Will PowerTeam Penske199+1 lap5026
1514Brazil Vitor MeiraA. J. Foyt Enterprises199+1 lap11019
1622United Kingdom Justin WilsonDreyer & Reinbold Racing199+1 lap19018
173Brazil Hélio CastronevesTeam Penske199+1 lap16017
1844United States Buddy RicePanther Racing198+2 laps7020
1919United Kingdom Alex LloydDale Coyne Racing198+2 laps30015
2036United Kingdom Pippa Mann (R)Conquest Racing198+2 laps31015
2124Brazil Ana BeatrizDreyer & Reinbold Racing197+3 laps32015
2243United States John AndrettiAndretti Autosport197+3 laps17016
2341United States Ryan Hunter-ReayA. J. Foyt Enterprises197+3 laps33012
2411United States Davey HamiltonDreyer & Reinbold Racing193+7 laps15016
2523Canada Paul TracyDreyer & Reinbold Racing175+25 laps24013
2699United States Townsend BellSam Schmidt Motorsports157Contact4021
276Australia Ryan BriscoeTeam Penske157Contact26013
2877Canada Alex TaglianiSam Schmidt Motorsports147Contact12025
2906Canada James Hinchcliffe (R)Newman/Haas Racing99Contact13014
3088United Kingdom Jay Howard (R)Sam Schmidt Motorsports60Contact20014
3178Switzerland Simona de SilvestroHVM Racing44Handling23014
3259Venezuela E. J. VisoKV Racing TechnologyLotus27Contact18014
335Japan Takuma SatoKV Racing TechnologyLotus20Contact10014
Wth41Brazil Bruno JunqueiraA. J. Foyt Enterprises----4
Lead changes: 23 among 10 drivers

  • Note: Unofficially Oriol Servià finished 5th, 8.8757 seconds behind the leader, with Scott Dixon placing 6th. When the official results were posted, it was determined that Servia passed Dixon on the final lap while the yellow caution light was illuminated. Officials re-instated Dixon to 5th, and dropped Servia to 6th in the final standings.
  • Note: After qualifying had concluded, Bruno Junqueira was replaced by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who did not qualify for the 500. Junqueira received full qualifying points for a 19th place qualification.



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