INDIANAPOLIS -- After hearing another smattering of boos during the driver introductions, Danica Patrick drove a steady if unspectacular race Sunday to finish sixth after starting 23rd in the Indianapolis 500.
The popular IndyCar driver had been booed a week earlier after the crowd heard her complaints about her car over loudspeakers after her poor qualifying effort. But on Sunday, she praised her Andretti Autosport team.
"I'm very happy with the result, and the reasons we got it were our pit stops rocked and we had a perfect strategy," she said. "We did struggle a little bit in the early going (and) almost went a lap down (to the leaders)."
But she gradually climbed through the field.
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"I'm really glad that yellow (flag) came out at the end because we were cutting it real close on fuel," she said.
Andretti comeback: Most of Andretti Autosport's drivers struggled in qualifying, but the team bounced back in the race.
Marco Andretti, son of team owner Michael Andretti, finished third after starting 16th. Tony Kanaan started in last place but surged into the top five before finishing 11th. And Ryan Hunter-Reay was running strongly until his last-lap accident with Mike Conway.
"I never doubted us," Marco Andretti said. "Qualifying is so different here than it is to race. When you have to run full stints in traffic, it's a different ballgame. I was feeling really good about my car even though we qualified 16th."
Kanaan likewise discounted the team's poor qualifying effort and said, "This team is more together than ever."
Female foursome: Patrick was one of a record four women in this year's Indy 500 along with Sarah Fisher and rookies Simona De Silvestro of Switzerland and Ana Beatriz of Brazil.
De Silvestro finished 14th and on the lead lap. Beatriz was 21st, four laps behind the leaders, and Fisher was 26th.
"I was glad I finished the race," Beatriz said. "There are a lot of small things I learned, like (the) setup of the car, what to do mechanically to get the car better, faster. I gained a lot of experience."
Pit stops: Race winner Dario Franchitti drives the No. 10 car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and this was the first time a No. 10 car won the Indy 500.
Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon finished second for the second consecutive year.
Two fans suffered minor cuts after they were hit with debris from the crash of Conway and Hunter-Reay, speedway officials said.
Patrick pleased with 6th-place Indy finish, and with car
A week after criticizing ride and implicitly crew in qualifying, she makes strong showing
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