Hunter-Reay Finishes First At Indy This Time

Monday, May 26, 2014 - by Richard Burke
Winner of Indy 500 Hunter-Reay edges out Castroneves on his right
Winner of Indy 500 Hunter-Reay edges out Castroneves on his right
- photo by Richard Burke
Ryan Hunter-Reay, denied winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500 wins this year's 98th running of the Indy 500 at the 103 year old track.

         The first half of the race was caution free and extremely stressful for the drivers because they were consistently running at speeds between 218 to 222 miles per hour.

 The race started with a first lap speed of 211 miles per hour being led by front row sitter James Hinchcliffe.  Speeds continued to increaseto 219 and soon the hometown favorite and pole sitter  Ed Carpenter took  the lead.

Racing consistently at 217 mph,   The lead switched several times mostly because of pit stops with Will Power, Marco Andretti, and Juan Pablo Montoya all leading one or more laps during the first half of the race.

       NASCAR regular Kurt Bush making his first Indy Car start ever qualified in 12th with a speed of 230.782 was doing a great job of maintaining position and driving error free.   Except after pit stops Bush spent most of the race in positions 12 to 16.  Bush finished and outstanding race in 6th place and immediately caught a helicopter from the track to the airport to catch a flight to Charlotte for tonight's Coca Cola 600.

     Defending race champion and fan favorite Tony Kanan experienced mechanical problems early on and fell numerous laps behind.  Once the problem was corrected he was while able to race at competitive speeds but was never in contention.

    The race had six previous winner led by Helio Castroneves with 3 wins and Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jacques Villeneuve, and Buddy Lazier, the oldest driver in the race having one each.

     Adding excitement, in addition to Kurt Bush, is that Montoya is returning to the Brickyard after winning in 2000 and then going to Formula 1 and then NASCAR.  Villeneuve is returning after 19 years during which time he won the Formula 1 championship.

    Up until the first caution flag on lap 149 all of the pit stops were green flag stops which resulted in lead changes which generally corrected after everyone had pitted.

     Marco Andretti took the lead, and was soon passed by Montoya who was racing at 222+mph.  Bush moved into the top 10.  Another caution changed the order of driver and Montoya after having to make a second stop on the same caution, was now behind Bush.

      The race was now getting exciting as the lead was sometime changing 2-3 times per lap between Carpenter and Marco Andretti.  Another caution dud to a wreck by Goodlettsville's Josef Newgarden.

    Finally with only 18 laps left it appeared to be a three was battle between Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Marco Andretti with the lead changing two and three times per lap between those three.  Unfortunately a crash by Townsend Bell damaged the Safer barrier and the race was red flagged for clean up and repairs.

    The race was restarted with Hunter-Reay and Castroneves fighting for and switching the lead lap after lap.  Ryan Hunter-Reay got the white flag and held on to win his first Indianapolis 500 win by 0.0600 seconds over Castroneves, the second closest race in history.  Third went to Marco Andretti, who was followed by Carlos Munoz, Montoya, and Kurt Bush.  Villeneuve finished 14th.

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