This year’s winner of Indianapolis 500, Ryan Hunter-Reay from the USA, used a series of daredevil moves to deny Helio Castroneves a chance at history.
The driver became the first American since 2006 to win the Indianapolis 500, passing Castroneves at the Yard of Bricks as the two bright yellow cars raced under the white flag in a thrilling final lap.
“As Ryan surged ahead down the backstretch, Castroneves took one final look coming out of Turn 4 but couldn’t pull off the pass,” Fox News reports.
Hunter-Reay won by 0.060 seconds – the second closest finish in race history since Al Unser Jr. beat Scott Goodyear by 0.043 seconds back in 1992.
“I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure,” Hunter-Reay said in Victory Lane. “I’ve watched this race since I was sitting in diapers on the floor in front of the TV. This is American history, this race, this is American tradition.”
Castroneves, in a desperate attempt to become the fourth driver to win a record fourth Indy 500, settled for second.
The Brazilian was disappointed with the defeat and needed a few minutes to compose himself, slumped in his car, head down and helmet on, before he was ready to speak.
The driver later said a caution with 10 laps to go that caused a red flag so track workers could clean up debris and make repairs to the track wall broke his rhythm.
“It was a great fight,” he smiled. “I tell you what, I was having a great time. Unfortunately second. It’s good, but second sucks, you know what I mean?”
Marco Andretti was the third to finish the race, while Carlos Munoz was fourth as Andretti Autosport had three cars in the top four, as well as the winner.
Three other competitors also tried to do their best, but only Tony Stewart in 2001 completed The Double. Stewart was sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“All in all, I’m very pleased. I cannot believe the execution of this team,” Busch said. “I tried to enjoy it. My throat’s real dry because I was smiling the whole time and the fresh air was coming in my mouth.”
Marco Andretti appeared to have a shot at the win, but never could mix it up with Hunter-Reay and Castroneves as the two leaders swapped position four times in the final five laps.
“Ryan’s just been a huge part of our team, a great guy, a friend,” said Michael Andretti, who won for the third time as a team owner and watched his son finish third. “To have him get a win here is awesome, he deserves it, he deserves to have his face on that trophy. If it couldn’t be Marco, he’s the next guy I wanted.”
“At the end of the day there’s stupid and bravery, and I think we were right there on the edge, both of us,” said Castroneves. “I’m glad we both come out in a good way. I’m sad it did not come out the way I wanted.”