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Indy 500 2012: Dario Franchitti Says He Was Innocent In Takuma Sato Crash

Dario Franchitti won the 2012 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday afternoon and will head home with both his third Indy 500 trophy and a clear conscience.

Franchitti insisted he did not squeeze down on Takuma Sato in their last-lap incident, though the Japanese racer felt differently.

"Takuma, I guess, just lost the rear," Franchitti said. "I watched the replay on the TV there, and he just lost the rear on the way in (to the corner). I felt the hit and the car go sideways, but I kept my foot in it, and that was it."

Franchitti was leading at the white flag when Sato got a run on the No. 50 car and had position on the inside lane with the corner quickly approaching.

"I heard my spotter say, 'He's got a run on you, he's coming up, he's starting to look on the inside,' and I started moving over," Franchitti said. "I was moving over, and then I looked in the mirror and saw exactly where he was, and I started moving back.

"We're allowed to come over to the wall and leave the car behind you a car width and an inch, and I wanted to make sure I left more than that."

The Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver said he took a "deep gulp" in the car, because he figured he'd have to go through Turn 1 wide-open on the outside lane and get dangerously close to the slippery marbles up top.

But Sato, he said, spun around by himself.

"Up until that point, I thought he made a good move," Franchitti said. "I wasn't very happy about it, but I didn't touch him, I didn't squeeze him down. He just lost the rear of the car."

Franchitti said Sato is a "very aggressive" driver and likely figured that was his one chance to win.

"You know, why not?" he said. "I think he did everything right up until he lost the rear end of the car, you know what I mean? That was the problem. I guess the car was too oversteery, and he lost the rear."

Sato, for the record, had a very different version of the story. You can read Sato's side of what happened here.

Here is video of the Sato crash. He finished in 17th after the wreck: