North Bay Driver This Close to Winning Indy 500


Rookie driver and Sausalito native JR Hildebrand was in the driver's seat as he came into the final lap of the Indy 500. He was ahead of the pack and cruising to victory when disaster struck.

Hildebrand went too high on the final turn and slammed into the wall. It was enough to wreck his car and allow Dan Wheldon to pass him and take the checkered flag.

Video replays show Wheldon was ahead of Hildebrand when the caution light went on. That means there's no contesting the win, Wheldon won fair and square.

"It's just a bummer," said 23-year-old Hildebrand after the race.

Cameras caught him climbing out of his wrecked car and waving weakly to the crowd. He bent over with his hands on his knees, unable to believe his luck.

Wheldon had much the same take.

"It's obviously unfortunate, but that's Indianapolis," said Wheldon. "That's why it's the greatest spectacle in racing. You never know what's going to happen."

No kidding.

Danica Patrick led the race with 12 laps to go, but she had to make a stop for fuel and that caused her to finish 10th.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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