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What an Indy 500!

May 31st, 2011

photo credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images

What an Indy 500!

May 30, 2011 — The 100th anniversary of one of the most famous car races, the Indianapolis 500, had a spectacular ending on Sunday when driver, J.R. Hildebrand –who was moments away from winning — crashed into the wall with the finish line in sight.

The 23-year old rookie was thankfully unhurt. After almost 3 hours of racing, he was in the final turn of the 500-mile race (200 laps around a 2.5 mile track) when he tried to go around the outside of a driver he was lapping.  Hildebrand had done this successfully earlier in the race but his tires were worn now and small bits of tire debris at the edge of the track (called marbles) made it slippery and led to the crash.

The announcers could hardly believe what they were seeing, and probably neither could Dan Wheldon, who passed him right at the very end to win.  Hildebrand still managed to come in second, just 2 seconds behind, with only three tires.

It was the Wheldon’s second time winning the Indy 500 (his first win was in 2005). He also came in second the last two years. Wheldon, who is British, won $2.5 million for winning.

The tradition for winning the race? Taking a big swig of milk from a glass bottle!

photo credit: John Sommers II/Reuters

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