The 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 took place on Sunday, and here are some of my knee-jerk reactions.
Swish: Dario Franchitti, Chip Ganassi
The Scot became just the 17th driver in history to capture multiple Indy 500 titles, after a dominating effort saw him lead 155 of the 200 laps. Say what you want about this being a fuel strategy win - the #10 car was clearly the class of the field. As for team owner Chip Ganassi, he made some history as well, becoming the first team owner to win the Indianapolis and Daytona 500s in the same year. Jamie McMurray took the checkered flag in Florida back in February.
Swish: Andretti Autosport
After an embarassing qualifying performance the weekend before, the Andretti cars came to play on Sunday. Marco Andretti made the podium for the third time in five career starts, coming from 16th to finish 3rd. Tony Kanaan charged through the field after starting dead last to get all the way to 2nd place before running out of fuel and falling to 11th (still not bad for TK). Danica Patrick was a surprise as well. Despite being clearly uncomfortable with her #7 Go Daddy car all month long, she was able to carve out a 6th place finish. Maybe their performance in Indy will give AA a much-needed boost heading into the rest of the season.
Brick: Early TV ratings
Despite a larger crowd, and a bigger buzz around this year's race than the last few editions, the excitement didn't translate to the television ratings. The 2010 Indy 500 ratings were down both locally and nationally, netting just a 3.68 across the country. That was down over four million households from last year. In central Indiana, the 500 earned a 12.2, down from the 14.6 a year ago.
Air Ball: Team Penske
Roger Penske hasn't had too many rough days in Indianapolis, but this was one of his worst. Outside of 1995 when both of his entries in Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi failed to qualify, this may have been their poorest showing to date. Defending champion and favorite Helio Castroneves stalled out in the pits with 55 laps to go, costing him a chance at a victory, and giving him a disappointing 9th place finish. Give Will Power credit for rallying to jump into the top ten (8th), but he was behind the eight-ball all day after being assessed an early penalty for leaving the pits with a fuel pump still attached. The worst performance came from Ryan Briscoe, who hit the wall in Turn 4 hard, and continued his run of bad luck in Indy with a 24th place finish.