Castroneves Wins 3rd Career Indy 500
Castroneves therefore converted his 3rd Indy pole position into a 3rd historical win, topping the IndyCar field ahead of Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon and Andretti Green Racing's Danica Patrick (first female to ever score a podium in the aforementioned race).
The Brazilian was not in contention for a 3rd Indy win in the first part of the race, as it was the Chip Ganassi drivers and Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe who controlled most of the action in the first half of the race. It was after the 5th yellow of the race – when AGR's Tony Kanaan caused a massive incident due to a suspension problem – that got struggling Helio back in the game, as he started to become a front-runner after previously lacking pace in the mid-pack.
The next caution of the day, caused by Nelson Philippe (who lost control of his car and hit the wall) brought Castroneves on top of the pack, a position which he never let go to the finish line. Teammate Will Power was the first driver to put the pressure on the Brazilian, as he tried to prove himself to the Penske outfit in what was likely to become his last outing with the team this season.
The Australian slid down the pack in the following laps, being replaced by the other Penske driver Ryan Briscoe in second place. Another massive incident (lap 167) caused the field to regroup, only this time both drivers involved in the crash - Vitor Meira and Raphael Matos – did not escape uninjured. While the former had to be taken to the hospital due to intense back pain, the latter needed help to get out of the cockpit.
The long yellow practically ended all hopes for an Indy win for Briscoe, as his low-fuel strategy earlier in the race caused him to make one more trip to the pit stop for refuel. He therefore rejoined the pack outside the Top 10, turning Wheldon and Patrick into potential podium finishers.
The trio would maintain positions to the chequered flag, with KV Technology's Townsend Bell and Penske's Will Power completing the Top 5. Ganassi duo Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti were 6th and 7th respectively, while followed by Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter, KV's Paul Tracy and AGR's Hideki Mutoh.