INDIANAPOLIS -- Scott Dixon won the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 from the pole yesterday in the No. 9 Target Ganassi Racing Dallara, but not before the world's most famous oval chewed up and spit out many of the pre-race favourites.
The carnage included a high-speed collision on pit lane between fan darling Danica Patrick and Ryan Briscoe on what would have been the final stop for both.
The damage to Patrick's No. 7 Andretti Green Racing Dallara serious enough to end her day and she was furious. It took an escort from Indianapolis Motor Speedway security staff to keep her from confronting Briscoe as his Penske Racing crew tried in vain to repair his car.
"It's pretty obvious what happened out there," Patrick said as she stormed back to her team's garage.
When she was asked what she wanted to say to Briscoe before security pulled her away Patrick said: "Let's just say it is probably best that I didn't get down there."
The diminutive 26-year-old Patrick said she hopes to get a chance to have a face-to-face with Briscoe soon.
"We will see if he can find me," she said.
Vitor Meira was a surprise second-place finisher in the No. 4 Panther Racing machine while Marco Andretti claimed the final spot on the podium in his No. 26 AGR Dallara.
Helio Castroneves, finished fourth in the No. 3 Penske Dallara and Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter was a career-best fifth.
But more than one third of the starting grid -- 13 cars -- were wrecked by the time Dixon took the checkered flag.
And Patrick wasn't the only driver looking to vent some anger at being caught up in the mayhem.
Tony Kanaan, who was leading the race at the half- way point, could hardly control his emotions after a horrific crash with Sarah Fisher that, he claimed was caused when Andretti attempted a risky pass.
"It was a stupid move. Teammates shouldn't do that to teammates," Kanaan said. "I'm sure he will have a good explanation for what he did. Halfway through the race with a bunch of traffic, why are you going to dive into me like that?"
Graham Rahal, 19, the youngest winner of an IndyCar race, was the first driver out when he slammed into the wall on Lap 36.
In the end, however, it was Dixon, the 27-year-old native of New Zealand who earned the nickname "Iceman" for his stoic demeanour both on and off the track, who got to chug the quart of milk at the yard of bricks,
"What a day, man," Dixon said. "I kept thinking during those final laps that something was going to go wrong."
He said that the huge number of crashes and the ensuing yellow flags made the race seem "like 1,000 miles."
"There were so many yellows, it was hard to get into any kind of rhythm," he said.
Dixon led a total of 115 laps in dominating the race, but admitted that on every re-start he felt as if he was in danger of being passed.
"We just kept trying to hold off (Meira and Andretti) on the re-starts," he said. "I felt like I was just a sitting duck."
But it was clear that Dixon was the class of the field as, each time he appeared to be threatened, he was able to step up to another level.
"He was the fastest car all day long," Meira said.
For team owner Chip Ganassi it was his third trip to victory lane at Indianapolis having won previously with Juan Pablo Montoya (2000) and Dan Wheldon (2005).
"I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet," Ganassi said.
Dixon becomes the first New Zealander to win at Indianapolis.