Two Reasons to Watch Family Feud
May 4 - Five IndyCar drivers will compete against
five Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models on Celebrity
Family Feud. (Date to be announced later.)
The winner will get $25,000 to donate to their
chosen charity. The IndyCar guys will donate to
The Indy Family Foundation if they win.
|Most recent news is at bottom of page.
|Conor Daly, Will Power, James
Hinccliffe, Tony Kanaan and
Nina Agdal, Samantha Hoopes,
Tanya Mityushina, Robyn Lawley
and Hannah Ferguson.
Keith Urban Gets Indy 500 Fan Ride
May 5 - Four-time GRAMMY Award winner Keith
Urban will roll off with the field of 33 drivers at this
year's Indy 500. He will be Mario Andretti's passenger
in a IndyCar two-seater.
Andretti and Urban will follow four parade cars and lead
the official Pace Car on three parade laps leading up to
the most famous race in the world. Once Andretti and
Urban exit the circuit, the field of 33 cars will take the
"The Indy 500 is one of the true iconic motorsport
events," said Urban, "and to get to drive with a legend
like Mario in this 100th race is indescribable and some-
thing I wish my dad could've seen!"
Andretti reported, "I'm going to his live show... and I'll
have some fun on his turf. I want to see him play some
ridiculous guitar, sing his heart out, and maybe even
change the lyrics to his hit song about falling in love in
the back of a 'Cop Car' to something about riding with
me in the back of a race car."
|I hope I get to see Nicole Kidman at the 500!
Indy 500 Sold Out
May 6 - IMS announced that all reserved seating is sold
out for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. While
general admission tickets are still available in the IMS
infield, the massive grandstands around the 107-year-old
2.5-mile oval, and all hospitality suites, will be completely
Beyond the grandstands, the new Hulman Terrace Club is
also sold out and every IMS suite is full. In fact, several
large temporary suites will be erected due to remarkably
increased demand. All VIP concert tickets are sold and it
is expected that the Indy 500 Snake Pit will reach
Anticipation for the 100th Running has had a positive
ripple effect throughout the city, with hotels and
restaurants completely booked months earlier than usual
due to increased anticipation for Race Weekend.
All Indy Hotels Sold Out
May 12 - Visit Indy has reported that the 33,000 hotel
rooms in the metro area have been practically sold out
since mid-March. Hoteliers likely will have their best May
in 20 years, based on demand for rooms for the 100th
running of the Indianapolis 500. Demand is "off the
charts," according to General Hotels Corp. CEO Jim Dora.
If you need a room don't give up hope - keep your eyes
open for cancellations, but prepared to pay a lot. Hotels
are charging 20-40% more than for last year's race.
IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis
May 14 - On an unseasonably chilly day, Simon
Pagenaud remained scorching hot at the Angie’s List
Grand Prix of Indianapolis, winning and taking a couple
of familiar names to Victory Circle at IMS.
The Frenchman’s Team Penske-Chevrolet won by 4.478
sec over teammate Helio Castroneves who held off
James Hinchcliffe’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsport-
Honda to cross the line just 0.6sec ahead.
“The car was fantastic once again. The balance was
perfect all race. When we were in the lead, we were
cruising … obviously we had a great last pit stop, too,”
said the 31-year-old Pagenaud, who also won the
inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in 2014.
“It’s incredible to win three in a row like this, and here in
Indy for me, it’s very special. I lived here for nine years,
so this place is very special in my heart.”
But for sponsor John Menard, the win meant even
more. Team Menard cars were powerhouses at the
Indianapolis 500 in the 1990s and early 2000s, winning
three poles, but none of his drivers drank the winner’s
milk. Menard got a Brickyard breakthrough when son
Paul Menard won the Crown Royal 400 NASCAR race
in 2011, but an Indy car win never materialized until
“It is very emotional, yeah. To see that performance
today is unbelievable. Just unbelievable.” Menard said.
“I’ve been through it all, just a lot of ups and downs over
the years. So close so many times, then something
happened, but this was like a picture-perfect race. Even
when we were not leading, we knew we were going to be
|<<< DAY 1 - Monday - OPENING DAY - TESTING & PRACTICE >>>
The race had two cautions for a total of 10 laps, one from
an opening-lap crash with Tony Kanaan and Sebastien
Bourdais and the other when Bourdais pulled off course
on Lap 38.
The star of the race was Graham Rahal who charged
from 24th on the grid to finish fourth in the Rahal
Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda while smart strategy
and unnecessary full-course yellow allowed Conor
Daly’s Dale Coyne Racing-Honda a spell at the front.
He would ultimately finish sixth, less than five seconds
behind the highest-placed Chip Ganassi Racing-Chevy,
that of front-row starter Charlie Kimball.
As in qualifying, some of Pagenaud’s strongest rivals –
two of his teammates, Will Power and Juan Montoya –
shot themselves in the foot. Power’s error was a Lap 6
spin while trying to fend off Alexander Rossi’s Andretti
Autosport-Honda; Montoya, was one of several drivers
penalized for a pit-exit blend-line violation, although he
climbed from 15th to finish eighth.
Menards sponsored Simon Pagenaud's Team Penske
Chevrolet that won the grand prix Saturday.
Grand Prix of Spain
May 15 - After winning every race this year, Nico
Rosberg tangled with Mercedes team-mate Lewis
Hamilton in the fourth turn of the first lap as they fought
for the lead. Both driver's were out of the race!
Amazingly, rookie 18 y/o Max Verstappen won the race
in his debut for Red Bull, ahead of the two Ferraris!
The Dutchman is the youngest race winner of a Formula 1
Russian Daniil Kvyat was demoted to the Toro Rosso
team while Verstappen was moved up to the Red Bull
team before this race.
Max's father Jos Verstappen raced in Formula 1 from
May 16 - All 33 cars turned laps on the 2.5-mile
Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, totaling 1,972 laps.
The 33 cars on track is the most for an Indy 500 opening
day since 2010.
Andretti Autosport led the way with its five drivers all
finishing in the top six. Marco Andretti sat on top of the
leaderboard with a lap of 228.978 mph in the No. 27
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing rookie Spencer Pigot
was the busiest driver in both of today’s sessions,
turning a total of 161 laps in the No. 16
Five Indy 500 rookies participated in the two-hour
rookie/veteran refresher session that opened the day.
Conor Daly, Spencer Pigot, Matt Brabham, Max Chilton
and Stefan Wilson completed all three phases of rookie
Veterans taking the refresher needed to complete the final
two phases. All five – Townsend Bell, Bryan Clauson, JR
Hildebrand, Sage Karam and Oriol Servia – did so.
|Marco Andretti was fastest.
|Spencer Pigot drove his RLL car the most laps today.
|<<< DAY 2 - Tuesday - TESTING & PRACTICE >>>
May 17 - On-and-off rain showers plagued the Verizon
IndyCar Series today at IMS. It was never a downpour,
but the constant spitting rain was enough to keep jet
dryers as the only vehicles on track.
Just before 3pm local time, series officials gave up on
getting cars on track before 6pm.
IndyCar drivers took the opportunity to visit sick children
at Riley Hospital for Children. Firebird was joined by
Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Max
Chilton, Simon Pagenaud, Matt Brabham, Alex Tagliani
and Sage Karam.
|<<< DAY 3 - Wednesday - TESTING & PRACTICE >>>
May 18 - All 33 cars made it onto the 2.5-mile oval and
completed a total of 2,779 laps.
Fastest Drivers Today: Team
Ryan Hunter-Reay - 228.202 mph Andretti
Carlos Munoz - 228.066 mph Andretti
Will Power - 227.733 Penske
Josef Newgarden - 226.998 Ed Carpenter
Gabby Chaves - 226.889 mph Dale Coyne
Spencer Pigot lost control of his RLL Honda and spun
into the Turn 1 SAFER barrier. He was uninjured but
his car sustained significant left-side damage.
|Spencer Pigot hit walll on Wednesday
Captain Kirk To Wave Green Flag
Chris Pine, star of the globally celebrated "Star Trek"
movie franchise, will wave the green flag to start the
100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
He will next be seen in "Star Trek Beyond," the drama
"Hell or High Water", and he is currently filming
Additional feature credits include Disney's drama "The
Finest Hours," "Z for Zachariah," "Horrible Bosses 2,"
the musical comedy "Into the Woods", the title role in
"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" among many others.
|<<< DAY 4 - Thursday - TESTING & PRACTICE >>>
May 19 - All but one of the 33 cars entered for this
year’s race turned laps today. Rahal Letterman Lanigan
Racing spent most of the day rebuilding the No. 16
RLL/Mi-Jack/Manitowac Honda that rookie Spencer
Pigot crashed in practice Wednesday and completed
just an installation lap in his repaired car. A total of
2,563 laps were turned.
Gabby Chaves was fastest today with a tow-assisted
lap of 227.961 mph in the No.19 Dale Coyne Racing
Honda drivers have been atop the leaderboard all three
days of practice.
With just one more day of practice before two days of
qualifications this weekend, the focus has also centered
on the no-tow speed list paced today by Will Power
with a lap of 225.381 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team
May 20 - Speeds increased in practice today when the
turbocharger boost level for the Chevrolet and Honda
2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines was raised 10
kPa to 140. That equates to about an additional 30
horsepower. Also it was a cool day which helped the
At 12:45pm, Townsend Bell had the fastest non-tow
assisted lap of 231.342 mph.
The track was closed for a short while late in the day
due to moisture, but it re-opened
There was a lot of competition as the driver's attempted
to be the fastest on Fast Friday.
232.672 mph - Will Power
232.344 mph - Josef Newgarden
231.972 mph - James Hinchcliffe
231.952 mph - Carlos Munoz
231.824 mph - Marco Andretti
231.559 mph - Townsend Bell
|<<< DAY 5 - FAST FRIDAY - PRACTICE >>>
|Charlie Kimball in the #42 Ganassi Chevrolet
|Gabby Chaves posted the fastest speed today.
Ginger Zee of ‘Good Morning America’ to host red carpet at 100th Indianapolis 500
Among the stars expected to appear:
Mario Andretti – 1969 Indianapolis 500 champion
David Anspaugh – Director, “Hoosiers,” “Rudy”
Robert Herjavec– Entrepreneur, “Shark Tank”
Martin Garrix – Record producer/musician, 100th Indy 500 Snake Pit performer
Akbar Gbajabiamila – NFL player, “America Ninja Warrior” host
Nick Gehlfuss – Actor, “Shameless,” “Chicago Med”
Kym Johnson – Professional dancer, “Dancing With the Stars” champion
Josh Kaufman – “The Voice” champion, 100th Indy 500 “Back Home Again in Indiana” performer
Chris Pine – Actor, 100th Indy 500 Honorary Starter
Angelo Pizzo – Writer/Producer, “Hoosiers,” Writer, “Rudy,” Writer/Director “My All American”
Richard Rawlings – Entrepreneur, race car driver, “Fast N’ Loud” host
Darius Rucker – Grammy Award-winning artist, 100th Indy 500 national anthem performer
Skrillex – Record producer/musician, 100th Indy 500 Snake Pit performer
Kevin Sorbo – Actor, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” “Andromeda”
Kevin Sumlin – head football coach, Texas A&M University
Keith Urban – Grammy Award-winning artist
Lady Gaga - Grammy Award-winning artist 100th Indy 500 “Honda Fastest Seat in Sports” co-rider
Ice-T and wife Coco - Rapper and actor, she's a model
David Finkel - Shelbyville Entrepreneur, pilot and pretty boy organist
Donald Davidson Receives Award
May 20 - Indiana Governor Pence awarded the
Sagamore of the Wabash to Donald Davidson today.
Davidson is the historian of the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway, the only person to hold such a position on
a full-time basis for any motorsports facility in the
world. British born, Davidson got interested in the
Indy 500 in the mid-1950's. He showed up in 1964
and blew the minds at the track with his memory and
great knowledge of the race. He has aided in the
broadcasts, written books and lectured.
Until 2006, the Sagamore award was the highest
honor which the Governor of Indiana bestows, a
personal tribute usually given to those who rendered
distinguished service to the state or to the governor.
Among those who have received Sagamores have
been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists,
musicians, politicians and citizens who have
contributed greatly to "Hoosier" heritage.
|<<< DAY 6 - Saturday - 1ST DAY OF QUALIFYING >>>
May 22 - Today the field was set and the fastest 33
cars will move on to tomorrow to vie for position.
Qualifying rules separate the fastest 9 drivers of today
from the rest. They will compete tomorrow for the
Pole. Consequently, the fastest drivers were out late
today trying to 1-up each other and bumping the
driver who was the 9th fastest, down to 10th.
Normally the session ends at 6 pm, but today was
pushed back to 7 pm due to a late start because of a
moist track. As the sun went down, the shadow of
the stands stretched out onto the track, cooling it and
making it faster.
The bedlam at the close of first-day qualifying was
exemplified by Mikhail Aleshin, who left pit lane
for his third attempt of the day precisely one second
before the end of the session.
Aleshin made the last of his nail-biting four laps
around Indianapolis Motor Speedway count, bumping
the No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda back
into the top nine for the third time.
Aleshin’s run today climaxed a frenetic final 90
minutes of qualifying that saw the fast nine change eight
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Ed Carpenter Racing
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Two cars were unable to make qualifying attempts due
to on-track incidents in Turn 2 today. Rookie Max
Chilton crashed in pre-qualifying practice and Pippa
Mann made light contact with the wall on the first lap
of her qualifying attempt.
“The rear end unfortunately just took off on me there
into Turn 2,” said Mann, driving the No. 63 Susan G.
Komen Honda for Dale Coyne Racing. “We don’t
know why. Going to go back, look at the data, put
some new suspension pieces on it, new front wing and
rear wing on it -- hopefully there’s nothing worse than
that – go again.”
Chilton also wasn’t sure precisely what happened in his
“I’m fine, a bit battered and bruised,” Chilton said.
“Your first accident on an oval is never a great one.
The timing is pretty bad, but that’s the issue with
practice before qualifying. You just want to make sure
the car is right. I felt like it was a little bit strong in the
front, but I don’t have the experience to know what’s
too much. Now I know, for future reference.
“It went down to line pretty quickly. I was cautious of
the rear and before you have time to react, it had gone
and you’re just a passenger from then on.”
Chilton and Mann were uninjured. By rule, because
both were unable to complete their guaranteed
qualifying attempt due to an on-track incident, they will
be placed at the rear of Group 1 for qualifying Sunday.
The same goes for Gabby Chaves, who withdrew an
earlier qualifying time and then waved off a second
attempt after one lap.
|<<< DAY 7 - Sunday - 2ND DAY OF QUALIFYING >>>
|Hinchcliffe suffered severe injury during a practice
crash for last year's 500 which made him miss the
whole racing season. He returned at the start of this
season. The Canadian will start the 100th Indy 500 on
the pole after a four-lap average of
Taking the last qualifying attempt of Sunday’s Fast
Nine Shootout, the driver of the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt
Peterson Motorsports Honda edged Josef
Newgarden’s No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet by
less than four hundredths of a second over the 10 miles
“I came into this month hoping we’d have a new story
to talk about after what happened last year, and I think
we did it,” said Hinchcliffe after winning the Verizon P1
Award and $100,000, not to mention the first pole of
his IndyCar Series career, in his 79th start.
“The Arrow Electronics car was an absolute smoke
show out there. It was right on the edge. (Lead
engineer) Allen McDonald and all my engineers did
such a great job, everybody at Schmidt Peterson
Motorsports. Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson put me
in the car and gave me the car to do it.”
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports won the pole for the
2011 ‘500’ with driver Alex Tagliani. That was the
last Indy pole for Honda; this one marks the first at the
“500” since Honda and Chevrolet engines began
competing in 2012.
Newgarden will make his first front row start and the
third in four years for Ed Carpenter Racing, though he
could only stand and watch as his blazing 230.700 mph
four-lap average was nipped for the pole at 5:44 p.m.
“It was a tough pill to swallow,” said the native of
Hendersonville, Tennessee. “I try to remind myself it’s
not just about today’s battle, it’s about the war, and
we’ve got to try and get that done next week in the
‘500.’ But it was still a lot of fun just to be up there
and have this opportunity to compete.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indianapolis 500
champion, rounds out the front row in the No. 28
DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport. Row 2 consists of
Andretti Autosport’s Townsend Bell and Carlos
Munoz in the fourth and fifth spots, with Team
Penske’s Will Power on the outside in sixth.
All three Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Hondas will
start the race in the top 10, as Mikhail Aleshin qualified
seventh and Oriol Servia 10th as the rest of the grid
was set earlier on Sunday.
2016 INDY 500 STARTING GRID
May 22 - There was a short practice session before this
afternoon’s Pole Day qualifying.
Each of the three practice groups received 30 minutes
on track. The fastest overall was rookie Alexander
Rossi in the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda
with a lap of 230.064 mph that came without the aid
of a tow.
Curiously, James Hinchcliffe, the fastest of Saturday’s
first-day qualifiers, never took the track for the session.
Likewise, his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate
Mikhail Aleshin kept his car in the team’s Gasoline
Alley garage, as did Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud.
Adding to the drama, 2015 Indy 500 pole sitter and
IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon's car had to
undergo a rapid engine change after fluids were spotted
leaking from his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Chevrolet in practice. With the help of crew members
from all four Chip Ganassi Racing Teams cars, they
took 64 minutes on a job that usually requires
between 90 minutes and two hours. The car made it
to inspection three minutes before the deadline.
If late, Dixon would have had to start last in 33rd.
Without any shakedown or installation check of the
new engine, Dixon went out and qualified the car 13th
with a four-lap average of 227.991 mph.
And his crew had to do it again. The race engine was
scheduled to be installed tonight.
“It’s not going to be 64 minutes this time,” Crew chief
Blair Julian joked.
There was a break for the IndyCar drivers in the
middle of the day when Sam Schmidt came out and
drove his modified Corvette around the track,
reaching 150 mph. The Vette controls all him to drive
the car with his breathing and neck movements.
James Hinchcliffe Won The Pole for the 100th Indy 500!
|<<< DAY 8 - Monday - PRACTICE >>>
May 23 - Indy Lights came out to practice today.
Zach Veach unofficially turned the first-ever 200
mph lap for an Indy Lights car.
Afterwards, the IndyCars came out to practice.
A 33-car field that ran 2,886 laps on a sun-splashed
Indianapolis Motor Speedway displayed some tight
pack racing, strong tows and flashes of three-wide
jockeying on the straightaways as drivers sweated
through long fuel runs with their newly installed race
Josef Newgarden finished the three-and-a-half-hour
session with the best speed of 227.414 mph in the No.
21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Dale Coyne Racing’s Pippa Mann, who qualified
25th, raised some eyebrows with the best lap for a
Honda engine at 225.833 mph, which ranked fifth
overall. The 32-year-old Brit, who crashed during
Saturday qualifying, acknowledged most of the cars
at the top of the speed chart benefited from a strong
draft. “This was like Carb Day on steroids,” Mann
said, “because we were doing it for four hours.”
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan, the
2013 Indy 500 winner, was second to Newgarden
with a lap of 226.393 mph in the No. 10 NTT Data
Chevrolet. That was an encouraging number for
Kanaan, who qualified 18th, considering Ganassi
cars failed to qualify in the first four rows.
|Pippa Mann is the only female in the race.
The Front Row
500 Infield Sold Out
May 25 - Wow. Not only did the Speedway sell all their
tickets and have to erect more stands (turn 2 and 3) and
suites (turn 1), they have now said they have sold out
the general admission for the infield - the first time in
In conjunction with the sellout, it was announced that
the long-standing practice of delaying the television
broadcast in Indianapolis will be suspended for 2016.
This is only the third time the race will be broadcast
live on Central Indiana television and the first time since
the early 1950's. The traditional delayed coverage on
WRTV will continue, so race fans who attend the race
will be able to go home with their families and watch the
broadcast Sunday evening."
Important Fan Information:
Customers who already have Snake Pit tickets or IMS
parking passes but have not purchased GA tickets will
still be able to do so. It is heavily suggested that fans in
this situation plan to purchase and pick up their tickets
in person before the weekend begins. As a last resort,
fans unable to do so should present their Snake Pit
wristband or parking pass at the gate on Race Day, and
attendants will sell GA tickets at a price of $40.
It is suggested that fans leave two hours earlier than
normal and reach IMS by 8 a.m.
May 27 - It was a sunny day in the 80s. The IndyCars
came out at 11 a.m. for an hour of practice. Tony
Kanaan was fastest, turning a lap at 224.772 mph.
More than 1,300 laps were turned in the one-hour
session that was extended 10 minutes due to an early
caution for debris.
There was one incident. Pippa Mann spun and crashed
in Turn 4, backing her No. 63 Susan G. Komen Honda
into the outside wall. Mann was examined at the track’s
IU Health Emergency Medical Center, cleared and
released to drive.
Pit Stop Competition
Team Penske and driver Helio Castroneves won the
TAG Heuer Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, earning a
$50,000 prize. Castroneves celebrated his eighth win in
the contest by climbing the fence in front of the Tower
Castroneves beat Mikhail Aleshin of Schmidt Peterson
with Team Pelfrey in the final round. This is the 17th
win for Team Penske in the annual competition for
Indy 500 pit crews. The winner of the competition has
gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 six times, most
recently with Castroneves in 2009.
|<<< DAY 9 - Friday - CARB DAY >>>
The FREEDOM 100 Race
The way they battled throughout the 40 laps of the
Freedom 100, it was only fitting that Dean Stoneman
and Ed Jones would complete the closest finish in
Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval history.
Stoneman edged Jones by a scant 0.0024 of a second to
win the premier event on the Indy Lights schedule in
front of a thrilled Carb Day crowd.
Starting fifth, Stoneman pushed his way to second
place by Lap 9 in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport
Dallara IL-15. He passed pole sitter Jones for the lead
on the next lap and, while Stoneman led 30 of the final
31 laps at the start-finish line, the pair swapped the
point numerous times throughout the race.
Jones led next-to-last on a final restart following a
caution to retrieve the stopped car of Heamin Choi.
Stoneman and Jones raced side by side heading into
Turns 3 and 4 on the final lap, setting up a drag race
down the frontstretch to the checkered flag. The
margin of victory was a few inches.
Dalton Kellett, who started 14th, charged from the
back to finish third. Shelby Blackstock was fourth to
give Andretti Autosport three of the top four finishers.
It also marked the 30th Indy Lights win for the
Juan Piedrahita started 13th in the No. 2 Team
Pelfrey car and moved all the way to second with what
appeared to be the fastest car on track. But he ran into
the back of Jones’ car and had to take evasive action to
avoid a larger collision, falling all the way to eighth at
|FASTEST LAP SPEED IN PRACTICE
Spun into T1 wall
Hit T2 wall
light contact with T2 wall
ricochet off end of pit wall
backed into T4 wall
|TRACK MISHAPS THIS MONTH (not including Grand Prix)
|<<< DAY 10 - Sunday - RACE DAY >>>
May 29 - A new era for the Indianapolis 500 arrived in
the form of a most unfamiliar driver.
An American, no less.
Alexander Rossi outlasted his faster rivals -- and his
fuel tank -- for a stunning victory Sunday in the historic
100th running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. The
unlikely win allowed the long-suffering Andretti family
to celebrate in the biggest race of their storied careers
and it left the top drivers in the field fuming over Rossi's
Rossi was a 66-to-1 long shot and certainly not the
driver anyone would have picked to win. But the 24-
year-old Californian used fuel strategy to outsmart a
handful of drivers who had the most dominant cars in
Rossi stretched his final tank of gas 90 miles to cycle
into the lead as others had to duck into the pits for a
splash of fuel in the waning laps. He was sputtering on
the final lap, working his clutch and getting screamed at
by team co-owner Bryan Herta to conserve fuel, and
he ultimately ran out of gas after taking the checkered
His victory celebration came only after his Honda was
towed to the party. He sat in the car for some time before
climbing out to take that sweet sip of milk.
"I have no idea how we pulled that off," he declared.
"I really was focused on taking it one lap at a time,"
Rossi said. "The emotional roller coaster of this race is
ridiculous. There were moments I was really stoked,
really heartbroken, really stoked. I was like, 'Wow, I'll
need to see a psychiatrist after this.'"
Rossi didn't have the speed of Carlos Munoz, who
was charging hard over the final 50 miles. But Munoz
also had to stop for gas and didn't have a chance to
race his teammate for the victory, even though Rossi
was running on fumes and completed the final lap at a
snail's pace of 179.784 mph.
The Colombian settled for second in a 1-2 finish for
Andretti Autosport. He seemed devastated after his
second runner-up Indy finish in four years.
"I was really disappointed when it comes with fuel and
you lose the race because of that," Munoz said. "I was
really disappointed to get second. Half a lap short. What
can I say? The only thing I'm clear about is that I will
win this race one day."
Munoz has contended at Indy before and has proved to
be fast at the speedway.
Rossi? Well, not many know much about him at all.
He's an IndyCar rookie who has chased a ride in
Formula 1 since he was 10. He left for Europe when he
was 16 and never pursued a career in American
open-wheel racing. But this year, stuck without a ride, he
made the decision to return to the United States to race
and became the ninth rookie to win the 500 and the
first since Helio Castroneves in 2001.
Rossi understood full well that it was strategy that got him
this win, and he knows what an Indy 500 victory means.
"I have no doubt it's going to change my life," he said.
Although he's a relief driver for Manor Racing in F1,
Rossi has no scheduled F1 races, and IndyCar is his top
commitment. He was lured back to America this year to
drive for Herta in a partnership with Andretti Autosport.
Herta was the winning car owner in the 2011 Indy 500
with Dan Wheldon, the actual 100th anniversary of the
first race in 1911, and now can claim a win in the 100th
"I can't compare (the wins) other than to say I am so
happy," Herta said. "I can't overstate how hard it was for
Alex to do what I was asking of him on the radio."
This Herta effort relied heavily on its alliance with
Andretti, and the family was hoping Marco Andretti
would give them their first Indy 500 title since patriarch
Mario Andretti won in 1969.
Instead, Marco Andretti never contended on a day when
at least three of his teammates were clearly among the
best in the field. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell
combined to lead 64 of the first 119 laps, but the
Americans were knocked from contention when Bell
clipped Castroneves as he left pit road. The contact
caused Bell to crash into Hunter-Reay.
"Ryan and Townsend looked really good up front. We
thought they would be the team to beat," team owner
Michael Andretti said. "Unfortunately, they had their
problem in the pit, which I could not believe, and I
thought that may have been our shot at winning."
Herta decided to gamble with Rossi on fuel strategy, and
it's the only thing that made him a late contender.
As the laps wound down, American Josef Newgarden
and Munoz repeatedly swapped the lead. Both had to
stop for gas, Rossi moved into the lead, and it was all his
Michael Andretti earlier this month was voted by the 27
living winners as the best driver never to win the race,
but he has now won the 500 four times as a car owner.
"I knew Alex was going to try (the fuel strategy), and we
said, 'All right, if he's going to try it, we're going to try
something else (with Munoz)," Andretti said. "To come
home 1-2 is just incredible. It was amazing. I don't know
what to say -- it's a great day, to be a part of history, to
win the 100th running, and to win it with a 1-2 finish is
Newgarden finished third and was followed by Tony
Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and JR Hildebrand as
Chevrolet drivers took spots three through six.
Newgarden, along with Hunter-Reay, Bell, Kanaan and
James Hinchcliffe, had the strongest cars most of the race.
Hinchcliffe, the pole winner who missed this race last year
after a near-fatal accident in a practice session, faded to
seventh despite having one of the best cars in the field.
"If I was in Alex's position, I'd be the happiest person in
the world right now, I wouldn't care how we won the
damn race," Newgarden said. "Everyone was on different
strategies, and they played that strategy. Those guys, to
put it politely, weren't as strong as us. They didn't have
as strong a chance to win, so they had to mix it up. It
worked out at the end for them."
In front of the first sellout in Indy 500 history, Rossi
stunned the more than 350,000 fans in attendance. He
was in Monaco this time last year for F1's signature race,
unsure of what his future held.
"I had no idea I'd be in IndyCar, I had no idea I'd be in
the Indy 500," said Rossi, who becomes the 70th winner
in race history.
He will also become the 103rd face on the famed
Mario Andretti drove the 2-seater IndyCar
ahead of the pace car at the start of the race
with passenger Lady Gaga.
Keith Urban was supposed to get the ride,
but was just too scared. (He claims he hurt
Sage Karam was joined by Juan Montoya, Conor Daly, Mikhail
Aleshin and Takuma Sato as drivers who hit the wall.
The FRONT RUNNERS - these drivers all looked like they might win...
|Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden
|Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves
|But Alexander Rossi surprised everyone by winning with a better fuel strategy
Carlos Munoz was devastated when he finished 2nd again.
|Helio Castroneves was caught up in the pit incident
involving Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell.
Later he was hit from behind by JR Hildebrand.
Castroneves had hoped to win his 4th Indy 500.
|Ryan Hunter-Reay being consoled
|Rookie Alexander Rossi earned $2,548,743 from an overall purse of $13,273,253 for his victory
BernzOmatic Torches used this web site's creator in a commercial this week!
Video of 500 events this year.