Franchitti wins second Indianapolis 500 title

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Dario Franchitti won his second Indianapolis 500 Sunday, winning a late-fuel saving contest and crossing the finish line under caution.

Franchitti, of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, had the car to beat for most of the day, then clinched the title by outduelling the others in the late stages of the race which featured a spectacular late-lap crash involving Mike Conway.

Franchitti, of Edinburgh, Scotland, had just enough fuel to power across the finish line ahead of runner-up Dan Wheldon and earn his second Brickyard title to go with his first one in 2007.

"This tastes just as good the second time," said Franchitti, after taking a drink of milk during the traditional victory celebration.

"Up until 10 laps to go it was pretty relaxed and then all hell broke loose with fuel saving. It feels great."

It was the second straight year Wheldon finished second. Marco Andretti placed third.

Their British compatriot Conway was involved in a flying wreck on the last few laps as his car sailed through the air then tumbled down the track after bumping with American Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Doctors said Conway injured his left leg but was not seriously hurt. He was taken to hospital by air ambulance. Hunter-Reay said he tore ligaments in his right thumb and will have surgery on Monday.

Franchitti, who last pitted on lap 164, dominated the race by leading 155 of the 200 laps.

It was Conway's crash that brought out the caution allowing Franchitti to finish the race with 13 ounces (.35 litres) of fuel in his gas tank.

"Still running," Franchitti told his crew over the radio as he took the checkered flag.

The win allowed Chip Gannassi to become the first owner to win the Indy 500 and NASCAR's elite Daytona 500 race in the same season.

Asked what was going through his mind during the last lap, Franchitti said "Just get to the finish, see if you can get to the finish."

Former Indy winner Wheldon was closing the gap as Franchitti had to slow down to save fuel. Then came Conway's smash and the caution.

Pole-sitter Helio Castroneves was seeking a record-tying fourth Indy victory but his chances fizzled after a blunder in the pits.

Castroneves' car stalled leaving the pits on the 146th lap. He finished ninth.

"Unfortunately, silly mistakes put us in the back," Castroneves said. "I'm very disappointed. I'm more disappointed with the mistake."

Danica Patrick placed sixth in a cash-for-clunkers car that she complained about to her crew in qualifying.

Brazil's Tony Kanaan finished 11th after starting last in the 33-car field. He moved as high as second, less than half a second behind.

His chance of becoming the first driver in 94 years of the Indy 500 to go from worst to first ended when he had to go to the pits for a splash of fuel with four laps remaining.

"I hope I made it exciting out there," Kanaan said.