Easy win for cool Kiwi

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- First impressions of Scott Dixon don't make you think he's an Indianapolis 500 driver, much less somebody who could actually win the race.

"He's been like that forever, since I've known him," owner Chip Ganassi said of the driver who became the first New Zealander ever to win the Indy 500 and the 19th driver to win it from the pole position.

"At first, quite frankly, I didn't think he was that excited about racing," said Ganassi.

"He has that quietness people confuse with not caring about things. It was a relief to know that really wasn't it; it was more a quiet confidence that sort of is his trademark," added Ganassi of the driver who delivered him his third Indy win.

Leading for 115 of the 200 laps, it was Dixon's second win of the season in his sixth Indy 500 start.

PRETTY HO-HUM

He looked pretty ho-hum in Victory Lane for a guy who had just won the Indy 500. But he said it may have been more a matter of being stunned.

"I was shocked ... almost dumbfounded," he said. "It's such a strange feeling. I don't show emotions much. It's almost like you're in a dreamland. It was quite crazy. It's something that you sort of expect somebody to maybe pinch you and wake up and you're sleeping in your bed back home.

"It still hasn't sunk in yet. It feels so special."

Dixon said maybe people should have taken a harder look at him in his race car after he took the checkered flag.

"I was definitely yelling a lot on the radio and punching my first in the air. I think I nearly took out three cars on the cool down lap that were trying to go around me."

Dixon said he was waiting for something to go wrong, pretty much convinced that sooner or later it would.

"I think I was worried going into the race just because we had such a smooth month. It was one of those things where you are waiting for something to go wrong," said the driver who finished second here last year.

Vitor Meira finished second this year, Marco Andretti third in a storm of controversy for taking out teammate Tony Kanaan, and two-time winner Helio Castroneves finished fourth.

The race was one of the better ones in Indy 500 history, with 15 cars ending up on the lead lap. The record of 16 was set in 1959.

Nine different drivers led the race, three short of the record.

There was no first corner or first lap carnage as the 33 cars, driven by 11 Indy 500 rookies, managed to get to single file fast and clean without even coming close to an incident. But there was no lack of accidents.

So many of them, in fact, that there wasn't one pit stop in the race that came under green.

It was 19-year-old Champ Car driver Graham Rahal, who became the youngest driver to win an IRL race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. earlier this year, who was the first to put a car into a wall.

The son of Indy winner Bobby Rahal, the rookie with only one race of oval experience put it into the wall on Turn 4.

"It looked like he got up high, too high, and that was it. Learning experience," said Rahal Sr., who would see a lot of others get up into the marbles and make contact.

CANUCK CRASHES

With the youngest driver out of the race, next out was the oldest, the Canadian who many believe shouldn't be allowed to start. Toronto's Marty Roth got too high in Turn 4 and hit the wall.

Next into a wall was rookie Jamie Camara, before Tony Kanaan and Sara Fisher crashed in an accident caused by Andretti and well before Ryan Briscoe clipped Danica Patrick in the pits, taking them both out of the race, in the two most controversial incidents of the day.

Jeff Simmons lost control, putting it off both the outside wall and inside wall.

Champ Car transition driver Justin Wilson, who won Edmonton two years ago, was next, doing a three-quarter spin between Turn 1 and 2, which he admitted was driver error.

Lloyd also ended up in a race-ending accident.

In all, 21 cars were running at the end including A.J. Foyt IV who lost laps when his car caught on fire during a pit stop.


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