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INDIANAPOLIS — How do you top Sunday’s enthralling and heart-wrenching Indy 500 next weekend at Belle Isle?

You can’t, so don’t go expecting it. The event will be a totally different experience and unique in its own way.

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix should be an exciting street circuit race, a real challenge on a narrow, bumpy and slippery racetrack.

There will be wall-slapping, for sure, and lots of incidents. Team Penske’s Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves, the island’s resident Spider-Man, will be right on the pace.

At the end of the day, whoever manages tire and brake wear the best will probably win or be right in the hunt.

But Sunday at Indy … it was a race of a lifetime, a mix of racing-fuel fumes, burning rubber, tears and joy.

Dario Franchitti won his third Indy 500 to put himself in a rare group of three-time 500 winners at the world’s greatest racetrack. (Ten drivers have won at least three Indy 500 races.)

The Target Chip Ganassi ace did it after locking wheels with Japanese driver Takuma Sato, who tried to outmuscle him on the final lap and ended up against the wall.

Like the class act he is, Franchitti dedicated the win to his late friend Dan Wheldon, who was killed at Las Vegas last October in the last IZOD IndyCar Series race of the season.

Franchitti kissed the Yard of Bricks wearing white-rimmed sun glasses, a la Dapper Dan.

He hugged Wheldon’s widow, Susie, who was at Indianapolis, putting on a brave face in light of the loss of Dan, the love of her life who won last year’s 500.

Franchitti sat during the postrace news conference with a bull terrier named “Bullseye” at his side — the Target Corporation’s mascot — with the dog sporting a painted-on Target logo over its left eye.

It was Dario’s day but much, much more.

It was a time to remember Wheldon, support Susie and move forward … to the Motor City, where Franchitti will have his hands full with Penske, Andretti Autosport and a host of other competitors.

Belle Isle will have its own story to tell by the end of the day along the Detroit River on Sunday.


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