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Category: Indy 500

NASCAR's Jeff Gordon, 3 others nominated for state racing award

Gordon

Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon was among four candidates nominated for this year's Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award, given to those who have made distinguished contributions to motor racing in California.

Gordon, a native of Vallejo, not only won four titles in what is now NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, he also is third in career Cup wins with 85 behind Richard Pettty (200) and David Pearson (105).

The other nominees are Tommy Ivo, a child TV star who became a successful drag racer and member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame; A.J. Watson, longtime Indianapolis 500 car builder and chief mechanic; and Tony Adamowicz, a sports-car driver who raced from the 1960s through the 1980s.

The winner will be announced March 25 at the NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

The award is named after sponsor Justice Brothers, a maker of auto-care products, and the late Los Angeles Times motor racing writer Shav Glick, himself a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Past winners include Dan Gurney, Rick Mears, John Force and Don Prudhomme.

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-- Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon at the Super Bowl last Sunday in Indianapolis. Credit: Tannen Maury/EPA

Danica Patrick, now in NASCAR, will skip Indianapolis 500

Danica Patrick will not race in the Indianapolis 500.
Danica Patrick said Monday she will not race in the Indianapolis 500 this year as she focuses on her shift to NASCAR stock-car racing.

The former IndyCar driver said she would race that day, May 27, in NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of 10 races she plans in NASCAR's premier Sprint up Series this year driving for Stewart-Haas Racing.

She also is driving a full schedule in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, a team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Patrick shot to fame when she nearly won the 2005 Indy 500 as a rookie. Given her love of the Memorial Day weekend classic, there was speculation she might enter the race despite her move to NASCAR.

But she told reporters at NASCAR's media tour in the Charlotte area that "I'm not going to do the Indy 500" this year although she added that "I hope to do it in the future."

Patrick also did not rule out driving this year in the Brickyard 400, the NASCAR race held each summer at  Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Danica Patrick signs a fan's shirt during the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction festivities Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. Credit: Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Dan Wheldon crash: Two injured drivers treated and released

Wheldon1

This post has been updated. See below for details.

Two other IndyCar drivers involved in the 15-car wreck that killed British driver Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday were treated for minor injuries, their teams said.

Will Power of Penske Racing, who finished second in the title standings behind champion Dario Franchitti, complained of pain in his upper back after his car went airborne in the crash.

But "there was no evidence of significant injuries so he has been released" from University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Penske Racing said.

Another driver, Pippa Mann of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, had surgery Sunday night at the same hospital to treat a severely burned pinkie finger on her right hand. She was being released Monday morning, her team said.

[Updated, 12:20 p.m. Oct. 17: A third driver, J.R. Hildebrand, suffered a “severely bruised sternum” in the accident and was held overnight at University Medical Center but was released Monday, his team, Panther Racing, said.]

The Izod IndyCar Series, meanwhile, announced that it canceled its championship banquet scheduled for Monday night at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.

The series also said information on a public memorial for Wheldon will be released at a later date.

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Graphic: Comparing tracks at Las Vegas and Indianapolis Motor Speedways

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Drew Boyd places a checkered flag at a gate of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of a memorial for two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon. Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Dan Wheldon killed in Indy Car crash [video]

Dan Wheldon, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner, died Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a multi-car crash on Lap 13 of the IndyCar Series season finale.

Officials decided to call the race, but the drivers did a five-lap tribute to Wheldon. IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard made the official announcement of Wheldon's death without further comment.

"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," Bernard said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute to in his honor."

The crash and its aftermath are in the top video below. Below that video is a second video, this one celebrating Wheldon's Indy 500 win.

 

 

Indy 500 victory:

 

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Graphic: Comparing tracks at Las Vegas and Indianapolis Motor Speedways

--Houston Mitchell

 

 

Danica Patrick may switch to NASCAR -- and still race in Indy 500

Photo: Danica Patrick. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images Danica Patrick's days as an IndyCar driver may not be coming to a complete end after all. Even if she becomes a full-time NASCAR driver as expected, she may still take part in the biggest IndyCar race of them all.

Patrick reportedly is in the final stages of a deal to run a full-time Nationwide Series schedule as a part of JR Motorsports as well as compete in limited Sprint Cup Series races for the team owned by Tony Stewart. Those talks include a plan to allow her to continue racing in the Indianapolis 500, the Associated Press reported, citing an unnamed source.

JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt has said it would be tough for Patrick to compete for a Nationwide championship if she runs in the Indianapolis 500, which requires drivers to spend much of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR had three Nationwide races during that span this year.

Patrick, who finished third at the Indianapolis 500 in 2009, has one career IndyCar victory and is ranked 11th in the series standings. She is winless in 19 career Nationwide races, but JR Motorsports co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. says she's "way ahead of the curve" as a NASCAR driver.

"I would like for her to run full time, and I'm sure she is considering that, and I think she would enjoy it,” Earnhardt said at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I feel confident that she's content where she is and happy with what we're doing. I think things are looking positive for us to put something together."

Stewart has also expressed interest in working with Patrick in the Sprint Cup Series.

"Anybody that's got a Cup team that would have the availability would jump at the chance to do something with her," Stewart said in May. "You would be crazy not to entertain an offer like that and an opportunity for her to drive a race car for you."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Danica Patrick. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images

Indianapolis 500 winner: Dan Wheldon

Indy5_600

Dan Wheldon won his second Indianapolis 500 in a wild finish in which California rookie J.R. Hildebrand had the victory in his grasp but crashed on the final turn.

Hildebrand, conserving fuel when others were forced to pit, passed defending winner Dario Franchitti with only a few laps remaining and was leading Wheldon when the white flag came out to signal the final lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But as the 23-year-old Hildebrand entered Turn 4, he slammed into the wall. He kept his car moving forward but not fast enough to prevent Wheldon from passing him to reach the checkered flag first.

"I just kept pushing," Wheldon told a television audience after he took a gulp from the celebratory bottle of milk in Victory Lane. Choking back tears, he said, "I never gave up. It's just an incredible day."

Hildebrand settled for second, Graham Rahal was third and Tony Kanaan fourth.

Wheldon, a British driver, won the Indy 500 in 2005, but after winless seasons in 2009-10, he failed to get a full-time ride this season. But a group led by veteran driver Bryan Herta hired Wheldon to at least drive in this year's Indy 500.

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Update: Dario Franchitti leads with 100 miles left in race

Indy 500 trivia: Why does the winner drink milk?

The history of the Indianapolis 500

-- Jim Peltz in Indianapolis

Photo: Dan Wheldon guides his car to the finish line while J.R. Hildebrand's car grinds against the wall coming out of Turn 4 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 100th anniversary race on Sunday. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire

Indy 500 Update: Scott Dixon leads after 100 miles

Indy2_600

Scott Dixon led the Indianapolis 500 and Alex Tagliani was second after 100 miles Sunday, while defending race winner Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan were charging toward the front.

Tagliani was the pole-sitter for the 100th anniversary of the famed race, and he and Dixon swapped the lead several times as in the early stages of the 200-lap event.

Dixon, of New Zealand, won the Indy 500 in 2008. Franchitti, a teammate of Dixon’s at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, started ninth but had climbed to third. Kanaan was eighth after starting 22nd.

Australian Will Power, one of the pre-race favorites who drives for Team Penske, started fifth but suffered a big setback when the left rear tire fell off his car as he left the pits during a caution period around lap 20.

It was a costly and uncharacteristic mistake by Team Penske, and because Power had to return to the pits to replace the tire, he fell back to 29th.

The caution period set the stage for the first "double-file restart" in the Indy 500, a new rule in the Izod IndyCar Series this year in which the field restarts in rows of two by two rather than single file.

The format has been criticized by some drivers as raising the risk of accidents, and as the field moved into Turn 1, driver E.J. Viso lost control and slammed hard into the outside wall, bringing out another yellow flag.

But as the green flag waved again after Viso’s wreck, the field had a clean restart.

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Indy 500 trivia: Why does the winner drink milk?

The history of the Indianapolis 500

-- Jim Peltz in Indianapolis

Photo: Scott Dixon leads the field into Turn 1 at the start of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Credit: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images

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