Ryan Hunter-Reay has won the Indianapolis 500.
"There comes a time in a race where money doesn't matter, living doesn't matter, winning is the only thing that matters." - Al Unser Jr.
Indianapolis, Ind. – Ryan Hunter-Reay survived a six-lap shootout to win the 98th edition of the Indianapolis 500, doing so before one of the largest crowds in years. RHR becomes the first American to win the race since Sam Hornish Jr. did in 2006. He bested Helio Castroneves at the end with the margin of victory being the second closest in history – 0.06 (6/100ths) of a second.
“I knew we had a good race car even though we started 19th. When we made it to the front, I just started biding my time, making adjustments on the stops. I have been watching this race since I was in diapers, and I am so proud to win it.”
Regarding the late-race battle royal, he added, “There was no practice for what we did at the end. Everything we did at the end was all new. I didn’t know if we had what it took, but I’ve got the best team. Winning it under the green like that was just fantastic; we raced each other clean but really hard. I think it was a fantastic race. I hope the fans liked it because I was on the end of my seat that’s for sure.”
Hunter-Reay went into the race highly confident, according to his wife Beccy. “I knew we had a good race car even though we started 19th,” he commented. “When we made it to the front, I just started biding my time, making adjustments on the stops. I have been watching this race since I was in diapers in front of the television. My son (Ryden) watched me today, and I am so proud of it. I’m thrilled.”
The Hunter-Reay family joined him in victory lane, rode in the pace car with him for the victory lap and got down on the ground with him to kiss the Yard of Bricks.
Hunter-Reay became the first American to win the race since Sam Hornish Jr. won in 2006. He earned his 13th Verizon IndyCar Series victory.
The winning DHL Honda is owned by Andretti Autosport.
For the Andretti team, it marks its third Indy 500 victory with the others coming with Dan Wheldon (2005) and Dario Franchitti (2007). Overall, it has 50 wins with Hunter-Reay achieving 10 of them.
This is the first time the No. 28 was the winning car number, and the only other driver to win from the 19th starting position was Bill Vukovich in 1954.
Hunter-Reay led 56 of the 200 laps. Eleven others led one or more laps. Thirty-five lead changes dotted the 2 hour and 48-minute race. The average speed was a rapid 186.563 miles per hour, second only to the 2013 race record.
Driving the bright yellow Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske, Castroneves nearly won again but accepted the outcome.
“It is a shame as it was so close, but today it’s Ryan Hunter-Reay’s day,” Castroneves said while still reeling from the outcome. “I wanted to give this to Roger (Penske) so bad. It was a great fight, and it was great TV. I was having a great time, but it’s good when second-place sucks.”
Colombians Carlos Munoz and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top five. Kurt Busch came home sixth, matching Tony Stewart's best Indy 500 finish when attempting 'The Double.' Busch exited quickly for Charlotte but reportedly said the race was an experience of a lifetime.
The remainder of the top ten went Sebastian Bourdais, Will Power, Sage Karam, and J.R. Hildebrand.
Eight drivers failed to finish and they were Townsend Bell, Ed Carpenter, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Charlie Kimball, Buddy Lazier, and Graham Rahal was last.
A red-flag with nine laps to go set up a six-lap run for the checkered flag victory with Hunter-Reay, Castroneves and Marco Andretti the contenders. The red flag was prompted by Townsend Bell who slammed the wall while running fifth, throwing debris all over the track and damaging the Safer BARRIER.
2013 victor Tony Kanaan had an off-day, finishing 26th 23 laps behind after spending many laps in pits having his car fixed. The first 150 laps were run caution free, but shortly thereafter five incidents happened in rapid order. Charlie Kimball crashed as did Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden. During a restart on the 176th circuit, pole winner Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe came together after going three-wide with Townsend Bell.
Carpenter blamed Hinchcliffe and said if the latter hadn’t recently sustained a concussion, he might have poked him. Bell, running with the leaders, crashed hard with nine laps to go and officials immediately threw the red flag as debris littered the track. On the restart, Hunter-Reay, Castroneves and Andretti brought the crowd to its feet with compelling action over the final six circuits.
The Verizon IndyCar Series races in the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit next weekend. The race will be a double-header and be televised by ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.
OFFICIAL 2014 INDIANAPOLIS 500 RESULTS
1 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 200 Running
2 3 Helio Castroneves 200 Running
3 25 Marco Andretti 200 Running
4 34 Carlos Munoz 200 Running
5 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 200 Running
6 26 Kurt Busch 200 Running
7 11 Sebastien Bourdais 200 Running
8 12 Will Power 200 Running
9 22 Sage Karam 200 Running
10 21 JR Hildebrand 200 Running
11 16 Oriol Servia 200 Running
12 77 Simon Pagenaud 200 Running
13 68 Alex Tagliani 200 Running
14 5 Jacques Villeneuve 200 Running
15 17 Sebastian Saavedra 200 Running
16 33 James Davison 200 Running
17 18 Carlos Huertas 200 Running
18 8 Ryan Briscoe 200 Running
19 14 Takuma Sato 200 Running
20 98 Jack Hawksworth 200 Running
21 7 Mikhail Aleshin 198 Running
22 19 Justin Wilson 198 Running
23 41 Martin Plowman 196 Running
24 63 Pippa Mann 193 Running
25 6 Townsend Bell 190 Contact
26 10 Tony Kanaan 177 Running
27 20 Ed Carpenter 175 Contact
28 27 James Hinchliffe 175 Contact
29 9 Scott Dixon 167 Contact
30 67 Josef Newgarden 156 Contact
31 83 Charlie Kimball 149 Contact
32 91 Buddy Lazier 87 Mechanical
33 15 Graham Rahal 44 Electrical