Florence Henderson, Jim Nabors, Taps and "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!!!" It's time.
0: Drivers are off on parade laps. Arute sums it up: "God, don't let me be the one to screw up."
1...no 0: Start waved off! Not good enough!
1: The green flag waves as we start the...and we have contact! Mario Moraes is into the wall, sliding down the track with a broken suspension. Looks like Marco was coming on his outside and and Moraes came up into him.
2: Marco has pulled into the pits, taken off the steering wheel and climbed out of the car. Insert obligatory "Andretti luck" reference.
4: Marco says "Kid doesn't get it...he's clueless." Not feeling the love.
4: Mario Moraes says he's going to talk to Marco. Media center ERUPTS in cheers.
5: Oh, it's Helio, Dario, Briscoe, Dixon, Kanaan at the front.
7: Back to GREEN and Dario times it perfectly, taking the lead from Helio. Woo-hoo for overtaking!
8: Alex Lloyd had to pit for a minor repair but he lost a lap. Meanwhile Ryan Hunter-Reay has moved from 32nd up to 26th.
14: Lock-stepping around right now. Back a bit Raphael Matos has moved from 12th to 8th, Vitor Meira from 14th to 9th, Ed Carpenter from 17th to 13th. Looks like the Vision cars are moving well.
20: Top six are separating. Dario, Helio, Briscoe, Dixon, Kanaan, and Graham Rahal.
21: YELLOW for Ryan Hunter-Reay, sliding into the wall on pit road. Out of the car but it is TOAST. Got high in four and BAM! into the interior wall leading into the pits. Ryan has literally left his mark at The Speedway.
23: Everybody into the pits. Seven seconds of love and it's back out. Dario, Helio, Briscoe, just the way we came in. Back further Townsend Bell nearly took out Nelson Philippe on pit exit. Probably because Nelson has a ridiculous looking car.
24: Chaos in the media center as channels are being changed from the live track feed to the ABC feed, which is mute. No audio. Much grumbling among the masses. The bloggerati remain silent, however. We're just happy to be here.
26: Sound is on. Marty Reid ringing in our ears. Crisis averted.
28: Back to green and...Helio, we're going back to green. Why are you dropping back to 4th? Ganassi, Penske, Ganassi, Penske at the front. Try to act shocked.
35: Looked outside and saw Lloyd getting the blue flag, being told to let Matos by him. Quit trying to get your lap back, young man.
40: Still Dario, Dixon, Briscoe, Helio, Rahal. Running last lap around 217 mph. Smells like fuel conservation.
45: Now it's a group of seven pulling away at the front, with Kanaan and Matos joining the front five. Danica seems to be feeling pleasant hanging around back in 9th.
48: Now Lloyd, still a lap down, is being shown the blue flag to let Will Power by. Not the kind of day the folks in pink were hoping to have.
50: Say it with me: Dario, Dixon, Briscoe, Helio, Rahal.
51: Doornbos gets a little loose, goes dirt tracking, over-corrects, and nicks the wall. Nothing broken, but he still slows into the pits to have it checked out.
52: Check that - Bobby D is done.
53: Holy shades of Sam Hornish Jr! Ryan Briscoe slingshots around Dario on the front stretch to claim the lead.
54: Scott Sharp just made a pit stop. Nelson and John Andretti coming in behind him.
56: YELLOW for Graham Rahal, into the ray-wall in Turn Four. Skidding down the front stretch outside our window. "Hi Graham! Sorry about the bent car." Rahal is out, but he's done, and Troy Ruttman's record is safe.
59: Pit stop for the leader and LOOK OUT as Justin Wilson does a little half-donut in front of his pit stall. Didn't hit anything or anyone, but he'll drop down to 20th as the last car on the lead lap.
60: After pit stops it's Briscoe, Dixon, Dario, Kanaan, Helio. I think these were the original picks by the intrepid Curt Cavin as "the five drivers who can win the race".
61: 28 left cars in the race and at the back is EJ Viso, three laps down.
63: Back to green and Dario BLASTS past Briscoe. In fact EVERYONE is going by Ryan. Matos and Danica up into the top 5. That's right - Helio is down to 6th.
64: HOLY MAYHEM as Dan Wehldon takes a group from 7-10 FOUR WIDE on the front stretch. Is this lap 199?
65: Briscoe has made a pit stop and he's now a lap down in 24th.
70: Pressdog reports that Tony Kanaan's pit is telling him to "think about fuel". He's currently pondering how to solve the sudden spike in the price of oil as well as options for renewable fuels.
72: After the pit miscue "Bad Ass" Wilson has already moved up to 15th. The nickname says it all.
74: We were just told "Graham Rahal has been checked, cleared, and released to drive." Unfortunately for him the only place he's driving today is back to the hotel.
77: Front three of Dixon, Dario, and Kanaan are separating from the rest. Meanwhile Dan Wheldon has marched his camouflage car up to 8th and breathing down Will Power's neck. Or rear wing. Or whatever.
80: Lead group of three is moving through slower traffic, posting laps around 204 mph. Probably thinking about fuel as well.
82: YELLOW as Davey Hamilton slows leaving a big strip on the wall. Got high in Turn Four and up in the marbles. Turn Four claims another. Much disappointment in the media center as Scott Goodyear fails to say Davey is "just a passenger".
85: Everyone into the pits fro some thirst-quenching ethanol, and on exit it's Dario, Dixon, Kanaan, Helio, Matos. Danica drops back to 7th. KV teammates Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell still hanging around in 9th and 10th respectively.
90: Back to green and once again the leader is a sitting duck as Dixon swoops past his teammate to take the lead. It's safe to say they're both trying to win the race.
95: Just noticed Marco's car has been fixed and he's back on the track. Of course I noticed this as he's pulling back into the pits so he might be done again.
98: YELLOW as Tony Kanaan is into the wall, trailing fire behind him. Collective groaning in the media center. Missing a few wheels. He's out and once again IMS takes his hopes, wads them up in a ball, and throws them in the trash. Replay shows something broke on the car out of the blue. The streak of leading races is also over, not that it matters now.
99: Scott says Tony is "just a passenger". Shazam!
100: And your leaders at the halfway mark are...into the pits. On exit it's Dixon, Franchitti, Power(!), Matos, Helio. Ryan Briscoe now up to 18th.
102: Oriol Servia is off the board. Anyone know what happened? I'm in a roomful of media and I still don't know.
103: Looks like Dixon's team found a six inch piece of shrapnel stuck in one of his previous tires after that last pit stop. Good thing he came in. It's better to be lucky than good, but it's even better to be both.
106: Tony emerges limping from the infield medical center. He was treated for minor injuries. "It looks like I got beat up." Zero for eight, so the poor guy is likely getting accustomed to being beat up here. Wants to tell his young son he's OK.
107: Brienne let's us know Servia had a fuel pressure loss. Thanks!
109: Back to green and although Dixon holds the lead, Helio goes around Matos for 4th.
111: Mike Conway is not only STILL in the race, but he's in 12th. Don't tell anyone.
114: A hundred and fourteen laps and Sarah Fisher finally gets some airtime. Battling in 16th.
115: Dixon, Dario, Power, Helio, Matos in the top five. Right behind them are Wheldon, Bell(!), Carpenter(!!), Tracy and Danica. All spaced evenly apart running around 219 mph.
124: Lloyd got his lap back and is in P22. His wife is having contractions but she's fine and says she'll wait for the end of the race to go have a baby. Much laughter in the media center at Samantha Lloyd.
127: Lloyd just made a pit stop and gave that lap back. Maybe he's just checking in on his wife. As you can tell from the pink suit, he's a very sensitive guy.
132: YELLOW for Nelson Philippe who brushed the wall exiting Turn Four. Turn Four is a maneater today. Chewing them up and spitting them out. He's lucky to have emerged with all four wheels from that demon.
133: Standing ovation for Kanaan at the IMS after concluding an interview seen on the video monitors. The track may not love him but the fans do.
134: Everyone comes in to pit and suddenly Vitor Meira is ON FIRE! Quickly extinguished with help from Will Power's pit, and amazingly he pulls out to a HUGE ovation from the crowd. Now giant Sham Wows are being applied to the pits to absorb the liquid in the pits.
135: Oh, Dario had some trouble in the pits and dropped back to 8th. Ganassi pit circus leaves the fuel hose in but it doesn't rip out. Leaders are now Dixon, Helio, Power, Tracy(!), Wheldon. Tracy in 4th, Meesh considering a small happy dance. Pressdog offers to throw water on her.
139: Matos comes in to top off. He drops to 21st but he's still on the lead lap and will try to go the distance without another stop. Jay Penske rolls the bones.
141: Back to green and Dixon as the leader is a sitting duck. Overtaken by Helio, who regains the lead.
142: Townsend Bell makes a brave move around his teammate Paul Tracy. Meesh covers here eyes. Two-wide into Turn One but amazingly everyone comes through unscathed. No team orders at KV either.
146: Danica lays down the law. Tells race control Briscoe jumped the start so, the the IHJ DEMANDS Briscoe drop back behind the Bunnies and behind the Rainbows.
150: Helio, Dixon, Power, Wheldon, Bell. Tracy is dropping like a stone down to 8th.
155: Will Power makes a move and gets around Dixon for 2nd. Two Penske cars up front, and Ryan Briscoe in the third one is already back to 8th. Team Penske is INSANELY adept in this race.
159: Will Power has thrown out the line and is reeling in Helio. Closing in on his bumper as the two pull away from the field.
160: YELLOW as Justin Wilson spins and lightly hits the wall. Not too much damage but he'll done for the day.
163: Everyone pits, including Matos. So much for that strategy. On exit it's now Helio, Briscoe, Wheldon, Bell. Power had a minor delay but came out 6th. Matos, strategy cast to the wind, is now 17th.
165: What's wrong with this? @DanicaPatrick just tweeted "my crew is awsome!!!!!!! P4 with 37 laps to go."
166: Matos come in to top off again. Hey, at this point, why not?
167: Back to green and Helio keeps the lead. Team Penske gave Ryan a short fill to get him to position so he will require another stop before the conclusion of the race today.
169: Jack Arute to Panther Racing's John Barnes about Dan Wheldon in third. "Can you go the Distance?" Barnes: "I'll tell you later."
170: 22 cars left in the race, all on the lead lap except for Milka Duno who is 1 lap down.
173: Holy roller coasters! Vitor Meira is sliding along the wall, backwards, sideways, a full 10 for creativity. No idea how that didn't flip over. He collided with Rafa Matos entering Turn One, and now they're both out. Eddie Cheever wryly notes of Matos "Fuel is no longer an issue." Ouch!
176: Matos is out but limping, but no view of Vitor. Far angle may have shown a backboard being deployed. TSO Joe says "It snowed Meira debris in T1. Very small flakes."
177: Sonny the Welder is hard at work in Turn One!
180: Pits are open and only Ryan Briscoe comes in for fuel. We're all going the distance from here.
181: 20 cars left on the track, which means Milka Duno has clinched a Top 20 at Indy. That is all I have to say about that.
182: The leaders are Helio, Wheldon, Danica, Bell(!), and Power.
183: Back to green and Helio takes a HUGE lead. Might have jumped the start but I'd expect to see Tony George turning water into wine before seeing Helio getting a penalty today. Danica and Dan go side by side but Dan maintains second place.
188: Vitor has been transorted to Methodist Hospital, complaining of "some pain". Can't tell you because that would be a HIPAA violation.
190: Ganassi teammates Dario and Dixon are battling furiously for 6th, but you're not seeing it on TV. Pity.
195: It's just a formality now. We're looking at a fun-tastic finish. I'm going to step outside to the patio and absorb it all.
199: White flag in the 93rd Indianapolis 500.
200: HELIO!!!!! THREE-TIME INDY 500 CHAMPION!!! And you know there's no chance that car fails tech inspection.
Helio pumps the fist. Helio does the victory lap. Helio parks the car just beyond the start finish line. Helio gets out and climbs the fence. His whole team climbs the fence. And the crowd goes wild!
In Victory Circle he's overcome by tears. Again. Needs a Kleenex sponsorship BADLY. Sending out mad love to the fans. "You don't understand. You guys are the best! You kept me so strong!! Let's celebrate now!!!!! YEAH, BABY!!!!"
Congrats to Panther Racing who finishes second for the second year in a row. Dan Wheldon is cool with second, probably because he's won here before and 2nd place still has a huge check. Three words, Dan: Burger Bash Karma.
Danica finishes in third, her highest finish ever at Indy. She'll take third and the MASSIVE airtime given to here by ABC. Might need to add a "D" to that network to account for the excessive coverage to Mrs Hospenthal.
Townsend Bell finishes fourth in a one-off. Wow! Finished 10th in a similar deal for D&R here last year. That's just a little impressive for a guy who doesn't drive fulltime.
Will Power finishes fifth today. He might have been leading in the championship points if he ran at Kansas. Sorry, Will, but thank you for driving. Please exit the vehicle and return the keys at the checkout counter.
Dixon, Franchitti, Carpenter, Tracy, Mutoh round out the Top 10. Tagliani in 11th is the highest finishing rookie, although it remains to be seen if a guy who didn't qualify can win the Rookie of the Year award.
Well, that's it for me, race fans. I'm kinda gassed. Thanks so much to the INCREDIBLY HOSPITABLE group in the IMS media center. I am in utter awe at both your graciousness and efficiency. Time for me to grab a deliciously disgusting Pork Tenderloin downstairs so thank you very much folks, drive safely exiting the Speedway, and good night everybody!
Florence Henderson, Jim Nabors, Taps and "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!!!" It's time.