Photo: Dan Helrigel/IRLClick to enlarge picture

The green flag flies for the start of the 2005 Indy 500. Photo: Dan Helrigel/IRL

Wheldon's first Indy win was also the first win for Michael Andretti, co-owner of Wheldon's Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda, who made 14 starts as a driver in the Indy 500 without a victory.

Much of the attention at Indy this year was directed toward Danica Patrick, who finished fourth in her first Indy 500 appearance—the best finish ever by a woman.

Patrick's Rahal Letterman Racing teammate Vitor Meira finished second, followed by Wheldon's Andretti Green Racing teammate Bryan Herta in third. All four Andretti Green entries finished in the top eight, with Dario Franchitti sixth and pole-sitter Tony Kanaan eighth. Buddy Lazier, 1996 Indy 500 winner, rounded out the top five.

MSN Autos provides a quick glimpse into some of the interesting stories and nuances surrounding the 2005 Indy 500. For complete event coverage of the Indianapolis 500, check FOX Sports on MSN.

Whether you're an avid race fan or not, you can still appreciate the influence that racing has on today's new cars when you read How Motorsports Affect Our Cars.

Indy Victory for IRL Points Leader

Wheldon came from the 16th starting position to claim the win, improving on his third place finish in the 2004 Indy 500. After passing Patrick with only a few laps remaining, Wheldon was able to hold on to the lead until rookie Sebastien Bourdais hit the wall on lap 198, bringing out the caution flag and sealing Wheldon's victory.

"This has been a dream come true for me," said Wheldon. "I've loved the Indianapolis 500 ever since I was a little kid in England. And you can see what a race it is. The best drivers in the world are here. The best teams in the world."

Wheldon is the current 2005 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series points leader, and the Indy 500 victory gives him four wins in the first five races of the 2005 IRL season.

Popular Rookie Patrick Delivers on Promise

Rookie Danica Patrick is only the fourth woman to ever compete in the Indy 500. She led a total of 19 laps, becoming the first woman ever to lead the prestigious race. Patrick led three different times during the race, including passing Wheldon for the lead after a restart on lap 189 of 200 for what looked like a legitimate chance to win it all in her first start.

Overcoming what she called two rookie mistakes—stalling the car after a pit stop which dropped her to sixteenth position, and spinning the car on a restart—Patrick remained cool and with good team pit strategy she was poised to challenge Wheldon for the lead with just under 20 laps to go.

Patrick's race performance and outstanding fourth place finish backed up her promise established by qualifying fourth for her first Indy start. She also posted the fastest single lap of the month at 229.880 mph in the final pre-qualifying practice.

If Rahal Letterman Racing sounds familiar, it's because team owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman are familiar names to many race fans. Rahal is the 1986 Indy 500 champion, with a total of 24 race wins during a 17-year career in Indy-style cars. Letterman, an Indianapolis native and racing aficionado, is the host of the "Late Show With David Letterman" on CBS-TV. Letterman has been a minority-interest owner with Rahal since 1996, but his name was added to the team name before the start of practice for the Indy 500 last year.

For complete event coverage of the Indianapolis 500, check FOX Sports on MSN.

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