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The 2006 Indianapolis 500

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500
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The 2006 Indianapolis 500

Bill Crittenden
The Parts Tree
June 2, 2006

The 2006 Indianapolis 500 appeared in the June 2006 issue of The Parts Tree

I'm not really an IRL fan.  I like the bumper-to-bumper action of NASCAR or watching sports cars twisting through road courses.

I've slept through Indy 500's before.  But I watch, because every once in a while something spectacular or historic happens.

Lately, the historic event that people tune in for is Danica Patrick making history by winning.  That didn't happen this year.  Aside from the long Danica Patrick Show during the pre-race, fans got to see that the Indy 500 had plenty of personality from the men this time, too.  Al Unser, Jr. made an emotional comeback after hitting bottom six years ago.  Michael Andretti retured to the 500 after a two-year absence.  Marco Andretti, the next in the legendary family of racers, about to make his Indy debut.

The race started clean, all the cars getting through turn one and finished the first lap safely.  It wouldn't last long, as a car soon lost control in turn two, collecting another one on his way into the wall.  A comment was made that the national anthem lasted longer than their race.

After running well, but not near the top, Al Unser, Jr. would end his day in an incident with the wall.  Contenders Buddy Rice and Helio Castroneves also went into the wall, increasing everyone else's chances at the end.

There was a late race caution during a cycle of fuel-only pit stops with just a handful of laps to go.  When the field was sorted, Michael Andretti was in the lead and just a few laps from his first Indianapolis 500 victory.

Michael Andretti quickly lost the lead, but it was to another Andretti, Marco, who took the white flag.  With just a few hundred yards between 19-year old Marco Andretti and the checkered flag, Sam Hornish Jr. pulled alongside and past to take the win.

It was Sam Hornish, Jr.'s first Indy win, but car owner Roger Penske's 14th.  Marco Andretti finished second in one of the closest finishes in the 90 editions of the race.  Michael Andretti finished third.

No, the 90th Indianapolis 500 wasn't historic, but it sure was spectacular.

©2006 Bill Crittenden

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