100th INDIANAPOLIS 500 COUNtDOWN
In a month when 1995 Indy winner/1997
F1 champ Jacques Villenueve returned
to the Speedway and NASCAR champion
Kurt Busch made his IndyCar Series
debut, the race will be remembered for
its frenetic finish and one ballsy pass.
Even though the lead changed 34
times among 11 drivers, it was the closing
salvo that kept the paying customers on
Marco Andretti, teammate Ryan
Hunter-Reay and three-time Indy winner
Helio Castroneves staged one of the
great slugfests. That trio was either nose
to tail or side by side for the final 18 laps.
RHR was leading when Townsend Bell
had a big crash in Turn 2 and IndyCar
officials decided to throw the red flag on
Lap 193 to try and finish the final seven
laps under the green (eight of the
previous 12 had finished under caution
because of accidents or rain). It was
unprecedented, but it was the right call.
With five to go, Castroneves went inside
RHR and into the lead going into Turn 1.
But on Lap 197, Hunter-Reay got a great
run going down the backstretch and dove
THE HUNTED AND THE HUNTER(-REAY)
almost into the grass to reclaim first. It was
the kind of bold move a driver makes to
cement his career or eat concrete at IMS.
On Lap 198, Castroneves came back on
the outside of RHR in Turn 1 to retake the
lead, but couldn’t hold it to the start-finish
line as Hunter-Reay used the slingshot to
get back in front. On the last lap Helio gave
it one final shot coming off Turn 4, but fell
0.0600sec shy at the checker.
It was the second-closest finish ever. RHR
was the first American winner since ’06,
with Andretti a car length behind in third.
(ABOVE) Big day for the home team... Hunter-Reay kisses the yard of bricks after becoming
the first U.S.-born Indy 500 winner since 2006.
sealed the 98th
“500” as a classic.
98th Indianapolis 500
Ed Carpenter, 230.661mph
Ryan Hunter-Reay, 186.563mph
Second: Helio Castroneves
Winning margin: 0.0600sec
Lead changes: 34 among 11 drivers
The 100th Indy
500 takes place
Sunday, May 29.
Monday, May 16,
with qualifying on
the weekend of May
in a shootout for
pole 5pm Sunday.
Miller Lite Carb Day
is Friday, May 27.