INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Dario Franchitti slipped the wreath over his head and took a healthy sip of cool milk in the 91-degree mid-afternoon heat in Victory Circle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. First, however, he donned a pair of white cardboard sunglasses -- a tribute to longtime friend, teammate, competitor and fellow Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon.
"Now my face on the Borg-Warner Trophy will be on either side of Dan's," Franchitti said of the 2011 race winner who died in October from injuries suffered in a racing accident.
Franchitti became the 10th driver with three or more 500 wins, holding off charges from Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan over the final five laps following a restart.
Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion, won under caution as Sato's No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing car made slight contact with the left side Franchitti's No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car while running side-by-side for the lead on the white flag lap. The contact shot Sato's car up the track and into the Turn 1 SAFER Barrier, bringing out the yellow flag.