2006 Indianapolis 500

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90th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning bodyIndy Racing League
Season2006 IndyCar season
DateMay 28, 2006
WinnerUnited States Sam Hornish Jr.
Winning teamPenske Racing
Average speed157.085 mph
Pole positionUnited States Sam Hornish Jr.
Pole speed228.985 mph
Fastest qualifierUnited States Sam Hornish Jr.
Rookie of the YearUnited States Marco Andretti
Most laps ledUnited Kingdom Dan Wheldon (148)
Pre-race ceremonies
National anthemMembers of United States Armed Forces
"Back Home Again in Indiana"Jim Nabors
Starting commandMari Hulman George
Pace carChevrolet Corvette
Pace car driverLance Armstrong
StarterBryan Howard
Honorary starterSugar Ray Leonard
Estimated attendance250,000 (estimated)
TV in the United States
AnnouncersMarty Reid, Scott Goodyear, Rusty Wallace
Nielsen ratings5.0 / 14
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2005 2007

The 90th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana on Sunday May 28, 2006. Sam Hornish Jr. won from the pole position. It was Hornish's first and only win at Indianapolis, and the record fourteenth Indy victory for Penske Racing. Hornish would later win the IndyCar Series championship, the second driver in a row to sweep the Indy 500 and season championship in the same season.

In one of the most dramatic finishes in Indy history, 19-year old rookie Marco Andretti took the lead with three laps to go, after passing his father Michael Andretti on the outside of turn one. Marco Andretti battled Sam Hornish Jr. over the final two laps, holding off the challenge until the final straightaway. On the final lap, Hornish passed Marco Andretti about 450 feet from the finish line to take the win. It was the first time a driver successfully made a pass for the lead on the final lap for victory in the 90-year history of the event.

The margin of victory was 0.0635 seconds - just over one car-length - which was the second-closest finish in Indy history at the time. (As of 2019, it is the third-closest). Hornish had earned the pole in qualifying with a four-lap average of 228.985 mph (368.516 km/h), and second place Marco Andretti was unanimously voted the Rookie of the Year. Defending race winner and defending IndyCar champion Dan Wheldon dominated much of the race, leading 148 of the 200 laps. However, a small tire puncture forced him to make his final pit stop earlier than planned, which coupled with an untimely caution period, saw him slip to fourth at the finish.

The race was sanctioned by the Indy Racing League and was part of the 2006 IndyCar Series season. With a high temperature of 89 °F (32 °C), it was one of the hottest days on record for the running of the Indy 500. Rain and cold temperatures washed out the first weekend of time trials, and washed out or delayed numerous days of practice. Race weekend, however, was sunny with no precipitation.


Chevrolet and Toyota withdrew from the series, leaving Honda as the sole engine provider for all teams for 2006 through 2011. Three races preceded the Indy 500, and Hélio Castroneves, with two wins and one second place, held a large points lead going into the month of May.

A new series initiative introduced the use of ethanol fuel. As part of a two-year roll-out, all entries for 2006 were required to utilize a 10% ethanol/90% methanol fuel blend (E10). Previously, from 1974 to 2005, methanol was the only fuel permitted, and from 1965 to 1973, the rules were crafted in such a fashion as to encourage the use of methanol in order to be competitive.

Team and driver changes[edit]

Several drivers shuffles occurred during the offseason. Defending Indy 500 winner and 2005 IndyCar champion Dan Wheldon switched from Andretti Green Racing to Ganassi. Wheldon started off the season with a victory at the season opener at Homestead. However, the race was marred by the death of Paul Dana during the morning practice session.

Marco Andretti moved up from the Indy Lights series and took over the vacated spot at Andretti Green Racing. In December, team owner Michael Andretti announced he would come out of retirement to race at Indy, alongside his son. Similarly, owner/driver Eddie Cheever announced he would get back into the car, participating in four races, including Indy.

Tomas Scheckter moved from Panther to Vision Racing. Vítor Meira took over the vacant spot at Panther, leaving the Rahal team. Paul Dana was signed as the third car for RLR, but was replaced by Jeff Simmons after his tragic fatal crash. Rahal maintained the services of Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick.

After a brief retirement, Al Unser Jr., who missed the 2005 race, signed with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Unser would race alongside teammate Buddy Lazier, who signed on for a partial season ride at DRR.

Hemelgarn Racing signed P. J. Chesson with financial backing from NBA basketball player Carmelo Anthony.[1] An aggressive marketing campaign nicknamed the entry "Car Melo", and also acquired the services of Jeff Bucknum for a two-car effort. However, by month's end, a disastrous result saw the two cars crash out together on lap 2, placing 32nd-33rd respectively. Hemelgarn subsequently closed its doors for the remainder of the season.

Race schedule[edit]

Race schedule — May 2006
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Time Trials
Time Trials
Pole Day
Bump Day
Carb Day
Indy 500
Memorial Day
Color Notes
Green Practice
Dark Blue Time trials
Silver Race day
Red Rained out*
Blank No track activity

* Includes days where track activity
was significantly limited due to rain

ROP — denotes Rookie Orientation Program

Practice (week 1)[edit]

Rookie Orientation - Sunday May 7[edit]

Opening day featured rookie orientation and refresher tests. The day opened with the Andretti family celebrating three generations (Mario, Michael, and Marco) taking a ceremonial lap around the track together.

Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., and Arie Luyendyk Jr. participated in refresher tests. Rookies P. J. Chesson and Marco Andretti passed the four-phase rookie test. Townsend Bell took only "shake down" laps. Michael Andretti (220.999 mph) was the fastest car of the day.

Rookie Orientation - Monday May 8[edit]

The second day of rookie orientation saw Thiago Medeiros pass the rookie test. Townsend Bell (221.381 mph) was the fastest car of the day.

Tuesday May 9[edit]

The first full day of veteran practice. Sam Hornish Jr. (224.811 mph) was the fastest car of the day.

Wednesday May 10[edit]

Sam Hornish Jr. (226.056 mph) was the fastest car of the day. The track closed early due to rain at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday May 11[edit]

Rain delayed the start of practice until nearly 2 p.m. Marty Roth spun in turn two, but made no contact. Sam Hornish Jr. (226.789 mph) was the fastest car of the day.

"Fast" Friday May 12[edit]

Rain washed out practice for the day.

Time trials (first weekend wash out)[edit]

Saturday May 13[edit]

Time trials was scheduled for four days. The "11/11/11" format was to be utilized, with eleven positions available on pole day. However, rain washed out time trials for the day. Pole day qualifying was rescheduled for Sunday May 14.

Sunday May 14[edit]

The "11/11/11" format was scheduled to be used, and thus 22 position were to be open for qualifying on Sunday May 14. Rain continued to fall, but the track dried shortly after 1 p.m. The cars took to the track for practice for about an hour, and Dan Wheldon turned the fastest lap of the month at 228.663 mph. At 2:15 p.m., the rain resumed, and the track was closed for the day. Time trials was washed out for the entire weekend for the first time since 1983.

Practice (week 2)[edit]

Wednesday May 17[edit]

Sam Hornish Jr. (224.381 mph) was the fastest car of the day. Rain closed the track early at 4:26 p.m.

Thursday May 18[edit]

Rain kept the track closed until 3:45 p.m. Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Thiago Medeiros suffered crashes. The brief session was ended at 5:52 p.m., as rain fell again. Sam Hornish Jr. (224.381 mph) was the fastest car of the day.

"Fast" Friday II May 19[edit]

Sam Hornish Jr. (227.925 mph) was the fastest car of the day. Hornish led the speed charts on all three practice days during the second week. Marty Roth spun but made no contact. Jeff Simmons crashed in turn one, but was uninjured.

Time trials (second weekend)[edit]

Pole Day - Saturday May 20[edit]

Since the first two days of time trials were rained out, 33 positions were available for time trials on May 20. The field was filled to 32 cars by the end of the day. Sam Hornish Jr., won the pole with the fastest four-lap qualifying speed of 228.985 mph (368.516 km/h).

Only one driver waved off during the day. Dario Franchitti experienced engine trouble after three laps, but later completed his attempt after an engine change. Although the new qualifying rules allowed qualified cars to be withdrawn and re-qualified in hopes of gaining a better starting position (with a maximum of three attempts per day), only one driver took the opportunity to do so. Townsend Bell's qualification run of 223.659 mph (359.944 km/h) was withdrawn, and he achieved an average of 224.374 mph (361.095 km/h) on his second attempt. This improved his starting position by only one spot.

Bump Day - Sunday May 21[edit]

The day opened with one position open in the field, and two drivers prepared to make an attempt. Rookie Thiago Medeiros, who had crashed his lone car on Thursday, returned to the track for practice.

Most of the afternoon focused on race day practice for already-qualified cars. Sam Hornish Jr. (226.256 mph) led the speed charts for practice laps, capping off a month where he led the speed chart every day he took practice laps except one.

Marty Roth was the only driver besides Medeiros that was looking to make an attempt. At 3:30 p.m., polesitter Sam Hornish Jr. spun in turn one and hit the outside wall while practicing in a backup car. He was uninjured.

With about an hour to go, A. J. Foyt brought a backup car to pit lane, driver Ryan Briscoe was getting settled into the car, fueling rumors of a late qualifying run.

At 5:08 p.m., Thiago Medeiros completed a qualifying attempt, and filled the field to 33 cars, however he was slowest and now on the bubble.

With 23 minutes left in the day, Marty Roth spun during a practice run, and crashed into the outside wall in turn 1. He was not injured, but the car was wrecked, and his chances to qualify were finished. The day ended with Medeiros the only car to complete an attempt for the afternoon with Briscoe deciding against making a run.

Carb Day - Friday May 26[edit]

Sam Hornish Jr. once again led the speed charts (220.698 mph). It was the ninth day of the month that Hornish completed the fastest practice lap.

Penske Racing with driver Hélio Castroneves won the 30th Annual Checker's/Rally's Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge.

Qualifying chronology[edit]

Saturday, May 13, 2006
No qualifications due to rain
Sunday, May 14, 2006
No qualifications due to rain
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Attempt Time Day Car
Driver Laps Total
Result Position Rank
1 12:03 1 92 Jeff Bucknum 4 2:42.5566 221.461 Qualified 22 22
2 12:07 1 90 Townsend Bell 4 2:40.9590 223.659 Qualified; withdrawn -- --
3 12:12 1 4T Vítor Meira 4 2:39.1823 226.156 Qualified 6 6
4 12:16 1 31 Al Unser Jr. 4 2:44.0925 219.388 Qualified 27 27
5 12:21 1 7 Bryan Herta 4 2:40.5859 224.179 Qualified 16 16
6 12:25 1 41 Larry Foyt 4 2:42.6519 221.331 Qualified 23 23
7 12:30 1 88 Airton Dare 4 2:45.0091 218.170 Qualified 29 29
8 12:34 1 55 Kosuke Matsuura 4 2:39.6431 225.503 Qualified 7 7
9 12:39 1 2 Tomas Scheckter 4 2:40.2431 224.659 Qualified 11 11
10 12:43 1 51 Eddie Cheever Jr. 4 2:42.1420 222.028 Qualified 19 19
11 12:48 1 52 Max Papis 4 2:42.1198 222.058 Qualified 18 18
12 12:52 1 1 Michael Andretti 4 2:40.3505 224.508 Qualified 13 13
13 12:57 1 9 Scott Dixon 4 2:38.6457 226.921 Qualified 4 4
14 1:01 1 21 Jaques Lazier 4 2:42.7847 221.151 Qualified 24 24
15 1:06 1 11 Tony Kanaan 4 2:38.7471 226.776 Qualified 5 5
16 1:11 1 20 Ed Carpenter 4 2:40.3224 224.548 Qualified 12 12
17 1:15 1 8 Scott Sharp 4 2:39.7720 225.321 Qualified 8 8
18 1:20 1 15T Buddy Rice 4 2:40.4326 224.393 Qualified 14 14
19 1:24 1 26 Marco Andretti 4 2:40.0586 224.917 Qualified 9 9
20 1:29 1 91 P. J. Chesson 4 2:42.4724 221.576 Qualified 20 20
21 1:33 1 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 4 2:37.2155 228.985 Qualified 1 1
22 1:38 1 12 Roger Yasukawa 4 2:44.5393 218.793 Qualified 28 28
23 1:42 1 10 Dan Wheldon 4 2:38.3543 227.338 Qualified 3 3
24 1:47 1 16T Danica Patrick 4 2:40.2319 224.674 Qualified 10 10
25 1:51 1 5 Buddy Lazier 4 2:42.9534 220.922 Qualified 25 25
26 1:56 1 17T Jeff Simmons 4 2:43.3785 220.347 Qualified 26 26
27 2:00 1 97 Stéphan Grégoire 4 2:45.5723 217.428 Qualified 30 30
28 2:05 1 3T Hélio Castroneves 4 2:37.8893 228.008 Qualified 2 2
29 2:10 1 14 Felipe Giaffone 4 2:42.4973 221.542 Qualified 21 21
30 2:14 1 27 Dario Franchitti 3 2:02.1355 221.066 Waved off -- --
31 5:27 1 27 Dario Franchitti 4 2:41.1857 223.345 Qualified 17 17
32 5:33 1 90 Townsend Bell 4 2:40.4466 224.374 Qualified 15 15
33 5:38 1 98 P. J. Jones 4 2:46.8091 215.816 Qualified 32 32
34 5:51 1 61 Arie Luyendyk Jr. 4 2:46.3952 216.352 Qualified 31 31
Sunday, May 21, 2006
35 5:08 2 18 Thiago Medeiros 4 2:46.8763 215.729 Qualified 33 33

Starting grid[edit]

Row Inside Middle Outside
1 6 United States Sam Hornish Jr. 3 Brazil Hélio Castroneves  W  10 United Kingdom Dan Wheldon  W 
2 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon 11 Brazil Tony Kanaan 4 Brazil Vítor Meira
3 55 Japan Kosuke Matsuura 8 United States Scott Sharp 26 United States Marco Andretti  R 
4 16 United States Danica Patrick 2 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 20 United States Ed Carpenter
5 1 United States Michael Andretti 15 United States Buddy Rice  W  90 United States Townsend Bell  R 
6 7 United States Bryan Herta 27 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti 52 Italy Max Papis
7 51 United States Eddie Cheever  W  91 United States P. J. Chesson  R  14 Brazil Felipe Giaffone
8 92 United States Jeff Bucknum 41 United States Larry Foyt 21 United States Jaques Lazier
9 5 United States Buddy Lazier  W  17 United States Jeff Simmons 31 United States Al Unser Jr.  W 
10 12 United States Roger Yasukawa 88 Brazil Airton Daré 97 France Stéphan Grégoire
11 61 Netherlands Arie Luyendyk Jr.  R  98 United States P. J. Jones 18 Brazil Thiago Medeiros  R 
  •  W  - Former Indianapolis 500 Winner
  •  R  - Indianapolis 500 Rookie

Failed to qualify[edit]

Race summary[edit]


After considerable rain during the month, race day was sunny and hot. Temperatures topped out at 89 °F (32 °C), one of the hottest days for the Indy 500 on record.

Due to the state of Indiana observing Daylight Saving Time, the start of the race was scheduled for 1:11 p.m. EDT. Mari Hulman George gave the command to start engines at 1:04 p.m. EDT, and all 33 cars pulled away for the pace laps, with Lance Armstrong driving the pace car.

Sugar Ray Leonard waved the green flag to start the race, and polesitter Sam Hornish Jr. took the lead into turn one. Down the back stretch, Hélio Castroneves passed Hornish for the lead, and Dan Wheldon moved into second. Castroneves led the opening lap.

On the second lap in turn two, Jeff Bucknum spun out and collected his teammate P. J. Chesson, taking both of the entries from Hemelgarn Racing out of the race and sadly out for the remainder of the season.[4]

First half[edit]

After the Hemelgarn incident, a long period of green-flag racing ensued, lasting 60 laps. During this period, Dan Wheldon dominated the race, briefly losing then regaining the lead during a round of green-flag pit stops around laps 36-39. By lap 64, Wheldon had built up a 19-second lead—nearly half a lap—over the next nearest competitor, and after 65 laps had lapped twenty-five of the other cars in the race, including all five of the other former 500 winners, leaving only eight cars on the lead lap.[4][5][6][7]

The field tightened during a yellow flag on lap 67 due to a crash by Tomas Scheckter. The crash sent debris into the inside grandstand, injuring five spectators, none seriously. Wheldon maintained the lead through a series of pit stops, and led at the halfway point.

Second half[edit]

Wheldon gave up the lead briefly during pit stop on lap 108, which allowed Scott Dixon to lead.[4][8]

On lap 110, Hélio Castroneves struck Buddy Rice from behind, taking out both cars. It was the first time two former winners had been involved in the same crash in the Indy 500 since 1992.[4][9] It was also the first time in his career that Castroneves failed to finish the race.

Sam Hornish Jr., took the lead from Wheldon on lap 130. Wheldon, however, would regain the lead on lap 145 and hold it through lap 182.[4]

On lap 149, Al Unser Jr. precipitated a caution period after spinning down the back-stretch and crashing in turn 3. During the caution, Jeff Simmons left the pit area with the fuel hose nozzle still attached. The hose tore, and Simmons's car dropped the nozzle out on the track in turn 3. On lap 150, the leaders pitted. Sam Hornish Jr. started to pull out of his pits with the hose still attached. The hose ripped, but Hornish stopped in the pits allowing the crew to disengage the nozzle. Team owner Roger Penske accepted responsibility for the error, having told Hornish to go before the fueling was complete. Fuel spilled in the pit stall, but Hornish was able to return to the track and stay on the lead lap.

Still under caution on lap 155, the field was preparing to go back to green when Jeff Simmons wrecked in the north chute. The caution was prolonged. On lap 160, Michael Andretti and Sam Hornish Jr. ducked into the pits to top off their fuel. Both would be able to make it to the finish without another pit stop.[4][8]

On lap 163, the green came back out with Dan Wheldon leading. Sam Hornish Jr. was assessed a "drive-through" penalty (being required to drive once through pit road, without stopping, obeying the pit road speed limit). Hornish returned to the track over 30 seconds behind the leader.

With twenty laps to go, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan were running nose-to-tail in 1st-2nd. Eighth place Sam Hornish Jr. was less than 10 seconds ahead of them, barely clinging to the lead lap. Down the backstretch on lap 183, Wheldon came up on the lapped car of Kosuke Matsuura, and was momentarily blocked. Kanaan darted into the lead on the inside. But in turn three, Kanaan and Wheldon split the slower car of Max Papis, going three-wide through the northchute. Wheldon got up into the marbles in turn four, and punctured a tire. As they went through turn one on lap 184, Wheldon nearly got sideways, and he had to back off his pace. Wheldon headed for the pits, but lost several seconds on his in-lap.

Tony Kanaan was now in front, with Andretti Green Racing teammates holding the top four spots (Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Dario Franchitti, and Michael Andretti).[4] Seven cars were on the lead lap, with Hornish in 6th and Wheldon now down to 7th, both clinging to the tail end of the lead lap.

Late Race Caution and Finish[edit]

Marco Andretti, running second, went to the pits for fuel on lap 190. As Marco Andretti was pitting, Felipe Giaffone crashed in turn two, bringing out the yellow. Marco Andretti (legally) slipped by the pace car exiting the pits, and avoided losing a lap in the shuffle. Leader Tony Kanaan, who still needed to pit, was stuck out on the track as the pits were closed at the onset of the yellow. The pits re-opened as the field came by for lap 193. Kanaan and Dario Franchitti ducked into the pits for fuel. Fan-favorite Michael Andretti stayed out on the track, and assumed the lead. Michael had come out of retirement to race with his 19-year-old son Marco, who cycled up to second place. In his 15th Indy 500, Michael was still looking for his first Indy victory. Scott Dixon was lined up third, and Sam Hornish Jr. was now up to fourth.

The green came out with 4 laps to go. Michael Andretti led the field, with his son Marco close behind in second. Hornish made a desperate pass deeper in the field, and emerged in third place as the field exited turn 2.

With three laps to go, Marco Andretti pulled outside of his father down the frontstretch, and passed his father for the lead in turn 1. Marco began to pull away as Michael now assumed a blocking role to protect his son's lead. Down the backstretch, Michael tried but failed to hold off the charging Hornish, and Hornish took over second place.

With two laps to go, Marco led Hornish by a half second, with Michael still in third. Down the back stretch, Hornish tried to squeeze past Marco as they approached turn three. He was pinched down, and ran out of race track, and had to back off. Hornish lost his momentum, and Marco pulled out to a 1-second lead at the start/finish line with one lap to go.

On the final lap, Marco held his lead down the back stretch. In turn three, however, Hornish began to reel him in. As the two cars exited turn four, Hornish executed a slingshot pass in the final 400 feet. He beat Marco Andretti to the finish line by 0.0635 seconds, the equivalent of about 15 feet (4.6 m). It was the second-closest finish in Indy 500 history. It was also the first time in Indy history that a driver made a pass for the lead to win the race on the final lap.

Afterwards, Hornish commented on his last-second pass, "I figured I came all this way, I ought to give myself one more shot at it. I kind of looked at it as, I was going to drive over him if I had to. For Marco to come as a rookie and drive like that he should be proud no matter what."[4][8][10]

Third-place finisher Michael Andretti had high praise for his son: "I felt so bad for Marco, but I'm so proud. He drove a hell of a race. I drove with him a hell of a lot in that race. He drove like a champion. He drove like he's been out there 10 years." But Marco wanted more: "I do not want to wait until next year. I have to take advantage of everything because second's nothing," he said.[10][11]

After leading 148 laps, 2005 winner Dan Wheldon failed in his bid to win back-to-back races. He recovered from the punctured tire on lap 183 to finish in the top five. On the final lap, while most of the attention was focused on Andretti and Hornish, Wheldon slipped by Tony Kanaan for position going into turn three, and came home fourth.

Box score[edit]


Finish Start Car
Driver C* Laps Time/Retired Team Points
1 1 6 United States Sam Hornish Jr. D 200 3:10:58.7590 Team Penske 50
2 9 26 United States Marco Andretti  R  D 200 +0.0635 Andretti Green Racing 40
3 13 1 United States Michael Andretti D 200 +1.0087 Andretti Green Racing 35
4 3 10 United Kingdom Dan Wheldon  W  D 200 +1.2692 Chip Ganassi Racing 32+3
5 5 11 Brazil Tony Kanaan D 200 +1.6456 Andretti Green Racing 30
6 4 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon D 200 +3.0566 Chip Ganassi Racing 28
7 17 27 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti D 200 +5.6249 Andretti Green Racing 26
8 10 16 United States Danica Patrick P 200 +5.7263 Rahal Letterman Racing 24
9 8 8 United States Scott Sharp D 200 +11.1252 Fernandez Racing 22
10 6 4 Brazil Vítor Meira D 200 +17.9554 Panther Racing 20
11 12 20 United States Ed Carpenter D 199 +1 lap Vision Racing 19
12 25 5 United States Buddy Lazier  W  D 199 +1 lap Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 18
13 19 51 United States Eddie Cheever  W  D 198 +2 laps Team Cheever 17
14 18 52 Italy Max Papis D 197 +3 laps Team Cheever 16
15 7 55 Japan Kosuke Matsuura D 196 +4 laps Super Aguri Fernandez Racing 15
16 28 12 United States Roger Yasukawa P 194 +6 laps Playa Del Racing 14
17 24 21 United States Jaques Lazier P 193 +7 laps Playa Del Racing 13
18 29 88 Brazil Airton Daré P 193 +7 laps Sam Schmidt Motorsports 12
19 32 98 United States P. J. Jones P 189 +11 laps Team Leader Motorsports 12
20 16 7 United States Bryan Herta D 188 +12 laps Andretti Green Racing 12
21 21 14 Brazil Felipe Giaffone D 177 Accident A. J. Foyt Enterprises 12
22 15 90 United States Townsend Bell  R  D 161 Suspension Vision Racing 12
23 26 17 United States Jeff Simmons P 152 Accident Rahal Letterman Racing 12
24 27 31 United States Al Unser Jr.  W  D 145 Accident Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 12
25 2 3 Brazil Hélio Castroneves  W  D 109 Accident Team Penske 10
26 14 15 United States Buddy Rice  W  P 108 Accident Rahal Letterman Racing 10
27 11 2 South Africa Tomas Scheckter D 65 Accident Vision Racing 10
28 31 61 Netherlands Arie Luyendyk Jr.  R  P 54 Handling Luyendyk Racing 10
29 30 97 France Stéphan Grégoire P 49 Handling Team Leader Motorsports 10
30 23 41 United States Larry Foyt D 43 Handling A. J. Foyt Enterprises 10
31 33 18 Brazil Thiago Medeiros  R  P 24 Electrical PDM Racing 10
32 22 92 United States Jeff Bucknum D 1 Accident Hemelgarn Racing 10
33 20 91 United States P. J. Chesson  R  D 1 Accident Hemelgarn Racing 10

*C Chassis: D=Dallara; P=Panoz. All cars in the 2006 Indianapolis 500 used Honda engines and Firestone tires.

 W  = Former Indianapolis 500 winner;  R  = Indianapolis 500 rookie

Race statistics[edit]

Race notes[edit]

  • For the first time, Honda was the sole engine supplier to the field. It is believed that for the first time in Indianapolis 500 history, that the race was run without a single engine problem during the entire month.[13]
  • In Hornish's seven tries at the Indy 500, this was the first that he had even completed 500 miles (800 km).[10]
  • It was the 14th Indianapolis 500 win for Roger Penske as an owner.[10]
  • This was the first Indianapolis 500 in which the leader of lap 199 did not win the race.[14]
  • The second- and third-place finishes by Marco and Michael Andretti were the 49th and 50th unsuccessful attempts to win the 500 by members of the Andretti family as drivers (Michael Andretti was a winning owner in 2005 then would be again in 2007, 2014, 2016, and 2017) since patriarch Mario Andretti's sole win in 1969, extending what is popularly called the "Andretti Curse" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.[10][11]
  • A few weeks after the race, Tom Carnegie announced his retirement after 61 years, making the 2006 500 his final race as track announcer.[15]
  • ABC Sports utilized Side-By-Side for the first time during the Indianapolis 500.



The race was carried live on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Mike King served as chief announcer.

For the second year in a row, pit reporter Kevin Olson conducted a pre-race interview with David Letterman. This would be the final 500 on the radio for Adam Alexander.

Indy Racing Radio Network
Booth Announcers Turn Reporters Pit/garage reporters

Chief Announcer: Mike King
Driver expert: Davey Hamilton
Historian: Donald Davidson
Color analyst: Dave Wilson
Commentary: Chris Economaki

Turn 1: Jerry Baker
Turn 2: Adam Alexander
Turn 3: Mark Jaynes
Turn 4: Chris Denari

Kevin Olson (pits/garages)
Dave Argabright (north pits)
Nicole Manske (center pits)
Kevin Lee (south pits)


The race was carried live flag-to-flag coverage in the United States on ABC Sports, except in Indianapolis on WRTV, where it was tape delayed to primetime due to the seats not completely sold out. After a critically unpopular season as chief announcer for the IndyCar series on ABC/ESPN, Todd Harris was removed from the broadcast booth. Veteran announcer Marty Reid took over as play-by-play. Scott Goodyear returned as driver analyst. Joining them in the booth was 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Rusty Wallace, who served as co-analyst with Goodyear.

For the first time ever, the broadcast utilized the Side-By-Side feature during commercial breaks. This was also the final "500" broadcast solely in standard-definition.

ABC Television (blacked out locally)
Booth Announcers Pit/garage reporters

Host: Brent Musburger
Announcer: Marty Reid
Color: Scott Goodyear
Color: Rusty Wallace

Jack Arute
Vince Welch
Dr. Jerry Punch
Jamie Little



  1. ^ Hemelgarn, NBA Star Anthony Team Up For Indy 500 Entry For Chesson
  2. ^ "Indy Racing League Timing and Scoring Report: Qualification Results - Bump Day" (PDF). 2006-05-21. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
  3. ^ "Starting Grid for the 2006 Indianapolis 500". 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Race Breakdown". The Indianapolis Star. 2006-05-29. p. R8.
  5. ^ "Wheldon dominates, but fails to duplicate win". USA Today. 2006-05-28. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
  6. ^ "'Almost' doesn't cut it for Wheldon". The Indianapolis Star. 2006-05-29. p. R7.
  7. ^ "Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Scorecard". The Indianapolis Star. 2006-05-29. p. R9.
  8. ^ a b c "Sam's the Man". The Indianapolis Star. 2006-05-29. p. R2.
  9. ^ "Champs take each other out". The Indianapolis Star. 2006-05-29. p. R13.
  10. ^ a b c d e "0.0635 Seconds". The Indianapolis Star. 2006-05-29. p. A1.
  11. ^ a b "More Frustration for Andrettis". The Indianapolis Star. 2006-05-29. p. R3.
  12. ^ "Official Results". The Indianapolis Star. 2006-05-29. p. R9.
  13. ^ "Hondas Flawless and Hornish Wins A Thrilling Indy 500". 2006-05-28. Archived from the original on 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2006-07-16.
  14. ^ Davidson, Donald. (2007). "The Talk of Gasoline Alley" [Radio program]. WIBC, May 3, 2007. Archived at http://media.wibc.com/av/audio/talk_gas/2007/may3.mp3 Archived 2007-08-10 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved on May 9, 2007.
  15. ^ "Carnegie retiring after 61 years as Voice of the Speedway". USA Today. 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2007-05-10.

Works cited[edit]

2005 Indianapolis 500
Dan Wheldon
2006 Indianapolis 500
Sam Hornish Jr.
2007 Indianapolis 500
Dario Franchitti