Patrick in Top Five at Indy 500

Danica Patrick takes fourth place at the Indianapolis 500 race — the best finish ever by a woman in the event. She lost the race in the closing laps. Host Jennifer Ludden reviews the race with Greg Rakestraw, of the ESPN radio affiliate in Indianapolis.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Jennifer Ludden.

Today history was made at the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. Dan Wheldon won the race, but a woman came in fourth. Twenty-three-year-old Danica Patrick lost the race in the last laps. Joining us to talk about the Indy is Greg Rakestraw. He works for the ESPN radio affiliate in Indianapolis.


Mr. GREG RAKESTRAW: Thank you very much.

LUDDEN: Danica Patrick seemed to be in the lead for much of the day. What happened?

Mr. RAKESTRAW: Well, she was actually leading in the last 30 laps. She was in the lead pack for a large chunk of the day, but had only led one lap until lap 170. Then at that time, there was a yellow flag; most of the lead lap came in. She decided to stay out, take the gamble, see if she can make it the final 30 laps on the fuel she had in the tank and then took the lead. Another caution came out at lap 189 with 11 laps left to go. At that point in time, she was in second, right behind the eventual winner in Dan Wheldon. Danica kept the lead until lap 193; that's when Dan Wheldon passed her. And she started running low on fuel pressure those last few laps, and she just didn't have enough in the tank to overcome Wheldon. She ended up dropping to fourth, but still a fantastic finish today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

LUDDEN: With so much attention on Danica Patrick, do you think the guys felt ignored?

Mr. RAKESTRAW: I think there were some guys that felt ignored throughout the course of the month. But I think all the drivers realized what she means to the series. There are so many more casual fans that watched the Indianapolis 500 today and that will hopefully care about future Indy Racing League events because Danica's a part of it.

LUDDEN: Greg Rakestraw works for the ESPN radio affiliate in Indianapolis.

Thank you.

Mr. RAKESTRAW: You're welcome.

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