Defending champion Dan Wheldon, who looked to be the favorite for most of the race dominated the track again, leading 87 of the first 100 laps and 148 overall, but a tire puncture forced him to pit earlier than planned.
Wheldon wound up fourth, followed by Tony Kanaan, Dixon, Dario Franchitti and last year’s rookie sensation, Danica Patrick, the only woman in t he 33-car field.
For Hornish the victory today is nothing less than amazing after taking a penalty late in the race and then later using the penalty a green-flag drive through the pits on lap 163 — to add a few gallons of fuel for an all-out run to the finish.
“It was a great team effort today. I could have not done it without the support of Team Penske, Roger has a winning attitude that always works well with his drivers. I just listened to what he said and drove as hard as I could for the final laps. You have to give a lot of credit to Marco for pushing me on that final lap,” said Hornish.
Three former Indy 500 winners failed to finish. Two-time winner Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002) and 2004 winner Buddy Rice crashed together on lap 110. This was the first time in six Indy 500 starts that Castroneves did not complete the full race distance, ending his string of consecutive laps completed at 1,089. Two-time winner Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994) crashed in turn three after he ran over something coming out of turn two that either cut a tire or damaged his car.