Sam Philip26 May 2009

Brits miss out on Indy crown

Castroneves edges out Wheldon in Indy 500, just weeks after being exonerated of $2.3 million tax evasion charges

Helio Castroneves

All British eyes might have been on Jenson in Monaco this weekend, but over in the States there was a little race called the ‘Indy 500' or somesuch. Quite a big deal over there, apparently.

And a Brit very nearly won it. Dan Wheldon - the Englishman who won the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 - was pipped to the chequered flag by Brazilian driver Helio Castroneves, who took his third Indy crown just weeks after being exonerated from a tax evasion trial.

Exciting stuff, huh? Wheldon only qualified in 18th, but sliced through the field to challenge Castroneves for the lead after a number of laps running under yellow flags. Eventually, though, the Brazilian was just too quick, and edged away from the Brit, who managed to hold off Top Gear favourite Danica Patrick to take second.

CAMRRAD legend Dario Franchitti - the Scottish driver who won the Indy 500 in 2007 - finished seventh after leading the race in its early stages, with fellow Brit Justin Wilson finishing back in 23rd.

But the race was all about Castroneves, who celebrated by climbing the Indy fence and waving to the fans. Last year, he was accused by the IRS of dodging $2.3 million in taxes, but was acquitted on all six counts last month.

That's what you call a good few weeks... 

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