Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet waited 15 years to win his second Indianapolis 500, but he was obviously overjoyed. “I’m loving racing right now.” His victory hiatus was the longest in Indy 500 history.
For Montoya’s team owner, Roger Penske, he joined the exclusive Club of team owners who have won the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in the same year. He was ‘welcomed to the club” by the other such owner – Chip Ganassi. Graceful for a man who celebrated his birthday Sunday and had hopes of one of his Chevrolet drivers winning: pole sitter Scott Dixon/No.9 Target, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data, Charlie Kimball/No.83 Novo Nordisk, or young lion, Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machines Records.
It was Penske’s 16th Indy 500 victory, with 11 different drivers. All four of his drivers led laps Sunday.
The record for lead changes in the Indy 500 is 68 set in 2013. This year’s thirty-seven lead changes (among ten drivers) is second highest.
Dixon led the most laps-11 times for 84 laps; Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Aveya Team Penske Chevrolet led eight times for 35 laps; Kanaan 4/30; 2014 IndyCar Champion, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet 5/23; Kimball 2/10; Montoya 4/9; Carlos Munoz/No.26 AndrettiTV.com Andretti Autosport Honda 1/3; Alex Tagliani/No.48 ALFE Heat Treating Special Honda 1/2; three-time Indy 500 winner, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet 1/2; and Justin Wilson/No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda 1/2.
I misspoke previously regarding the number of leaders. There were ten leaders – eight Chevrolets and two Hondas; and the Andretti Autosport driver was Wilson, not Marco Andretti. Mea Culpa.
The top Rookie was Gabby Chaves/No.98 Bowers & Wilkins w/Curb Honda, finishing 16th, gaining ten positions from the grid.
The Margin of Victory ahead of runner-up, a hard-charging Power, was 0.1046 second. Power led three times in the last 14 laps, twice swapping with Montoya.
Kanaan led four times, turned the fastest leader lap of 224.767 mph on lap 22, and retired after crashing by himself in Turn Four. He was not injured.
Kimball turned the fastest overall lap of 226.712 mph on lap 102.
Twenty of the 22 finishers were on the lead lap. Both female drivers finished: Simona de Silvestro/No.29 Andretti Autosport Honda started 18th and finished 19th. Pippa Mann/No.63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda started twenty-fifth and finished twenty-second. Each had a problem in the race, but finished.
De Silvestro rear-ended Montoya early on in the race, causing each to pit for wing repairs.
Three drivers retired for mechanical reasons – Conor Daly and two of the three Dale Coyne Racing Honda drivers from a Pit Lane accident. Daly/No.43 Fueled by BACON Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda suffered a fuel leak on the Pace Lap. His car smoked and then caught fire as he was going down the back stretch, where he pulled off. It burned some key items, so “sadly, that was the end of the race before it even started. It was a real shame for sure. These things happen in racing though so all we can do is look forward.” Young, but mature and gracious.
All three of the DCR Hondas pitted during the third caution on Lap 112, for the accident with Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet and Oriol Servia/No.32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda. They were lined up 1-2-3 in the pits, with Pippa Mann/No.63, Tristan Vautier/No.18 and James Davison/No.19 Always Evolving/Replay XD in that order. The team reported that Mann just left her pit box in the slow lane, side by side with another car in the fast lane. Her teammate, With the gap not as large as it appeared, Davison pulled out of his pit and hit Mann. This sent Davison into Vautier’s pit box, where the crew was still changing tires. Two tire changers were struck.
DCR Crew Chief for Vautier, Greg Senerius, was treated and released from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center, suffering “just a few aches and pains.” The team reports that Vautier’s rear tire changer, Daniel Jang, suffered a broken ankle and was having an operation performed at Methodist Hospital on that ankle.”
Mann was able to continue and finished twenty-second, with 197 laps of the 200 run.
Each of the two drivers wired with telemetry retired – Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet, and James Jakes/No.41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda. The electronics measured heart rate, respiration, calories burned, etc.
Karam crashed on the first lap after being hit by Takuma Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Honda, who was reportedly making an ‘optimistic pass’ off the first turn on the outside of Karam. Karam crashed into the wall. Ryan Briscoe/No.5 Arrows/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda was caught out, spinning and stalling. But he recovered after pitting and finished twelfth after starting thirty-first – gaining the most positions of any driver. Sato continued, to finish thirteenth. Karam was not a happy camper, blaming Sato. Before and during the pace laps Karam’s respiration was 20/min. No way to measure what it was after the crash.
Karem took to Twitter afterwards, “Sato thinking he can win the Indy 500 in the first turn. Thanks man. I have some of your front wing. When should I return it?” On TV Karam was a bit more restrained. “I knew going into Turn 1 he had a run, but I didn’t think he was dumb enough to go on the outside. You can race two-wide, race each other clean. Sato is a veteran. He should be better than that. Three-wide, he ruined a lot of guy’s races. He needs to clean up his act.”
Jakes was involved in the last crash, with two other cars – Rookie Stefano Coletti/No.4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet and Sebastian Saavedra. Coletti and Jakes were checked and released, cleared to drive after visiting the IU Health Emergency Center. Jakes respiration was a bit higher, during the race, but his post-crash data was not available. Meanwhile, Saavedra suffered a contusion to his right foot, and will require further evaluation before being cleared to drive.
The next event for the INDYCAR drivers is the double race upcoming in six days in Detroit – The Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
Juan Pablo Montoya kissing the bricks.
All photos by Pablo Matamoros
1. (15) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 200, Running
2. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running
3. (14) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (1) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 200, Running
5. (17) Graham Rahal, Honda, 200, Running
6. (8) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
7. (5) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 200, Running
8. (10) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (9) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
10. (3) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running
11. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (31) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 200, Running
13. (24) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
14. (23) Townsend Bell, Chevrolet, 200, Running
15. (16) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 200, Running
16. (26) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 200, Running
17. (20) Alex Tagliani, Honda, 200, Running
18. (19) James Jakes, Honda, 200, Running
19. (18) Simona de Silvestro, Honda, 200, Running
20. (11) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 200, Running
21. (6) Justin Wilson, Honda, 199, Running
22. (25) Pippa Mann, Honda, 197, Running
23. (27) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 175, Contact
24. (28) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 175, Contact
25. (29) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 175, Contact
26. (4) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 151, Contact
27. (33) James Davison, Honda, 116, Mechanical
28. (32) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 116, Mechanical
29. (13) Oriol Servia, Honda, 112, Contact
30. (12) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 112, Contact
31. (30) Bryan Clauson, Chevrolet, 61, Contact
32. (21) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 0, Contact
33. (22) Conor Daly, Honda, 0, Mechanical