INDIANAPOLIS - They raced 1-2-3 in line, trading the lead a whopping 15 times over the final, frantic 75 laps. All three drivers had a last-lap plan in mind when they zipped past the white flag, and it was Takuma Sato who acted first with a bold move for the win.
Sato pulled out of line, dipped inside of Dario Franchitti and tried to pounce as they headed into the first turn. Scott Dixon watched and waited from third, figuring he was now in position to slingshot past both for the victory.
Instead, Sato and Franchitti nearly touched. Sato spun out and into the wall and Franchitti zipped to his third victory in one of the most dramatic Indianapolis 500 finishes in memory. Some even argued it was one of the greatest Indy 500s ever.
It sure won't be easy to top on Sunday.
"I got a lot of comments from drivers in NASCAR and Formula One saying it was the best 500 they'd ever seen," Franchitti said. "But I think this year will also be a very, close exciting race."
The IndyCar Series has given every indication that today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway could be another thriller.
The series is off to a terrific start this year with three winners in the first four races, and for the first time since 1991 none of the winners drive for the mighty Penske Racing or Chip Ganassi Racing teams. Instead, it's been three wins for resurgent Andretti Autosport and one for A.J. Foyt Racing, which celebrated Sato becoming the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race.
So steady this season, Sato goes into the 500 as the series points leader. And, he'll start from the sixth row - right next to Franchitti and Dixon.
The field is stacked, though, and has a pair of drivers trying to join the exclusive club of four-time winners. Franchitti and Helio Castroneves are each vying to join Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners of the Indy 500, a feat that hasn't been done since Mears' 1991 victory.
• In Concord, N.C., Kyle Busch dominated at Charlotte Motor Speedway again Saturday, racing to his sixth Nationwide Series victory of the season and record seventh career win at the track.
• In Monaco, Nico Rosberg set the fastest qualifying time at the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday to secure his third consecutive Formula 1 pole.