The 2013 Indy 500 had its share of surprises.
Records were made, rookies shined and an unlikely winner kissed the bricks and drank the milk to complete a memorable day in Indianapolis.
Tony Kanaan finally caught a break at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A late-race caution sent the 12-time race participant into cruise control on the final three laps and into Victory Lane.
Take a look at Kanaan’s quest and some of the other surprises from the 97th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
Rookies Impress, One Nearly Takes the Checkered Flag
Four rookies had their first IndyCar starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and they all held their own.
Carlos Munoz, 21, made his rookie debut and nearly cruised into Victory Lane as the race’s winner. He could have won it all had it not been for the late-race caution that solidified Kanaan's victory.
Munoz is a member of Michael Andretti’s Indy Lights team, a developmental IndyCar series. The second-place finish at the challenging race is perhaps a sign of greater things to come for the promising Colombian driver.
AJ Allmendinger, another rookie, led for 23 laps and finished the race in seventh place. Allmendinger, who drove the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car, said, “It was probably the coolest feeling in my life to take the lead at Indy and lead the Indy 500. That's a feeling I'll never forget,” according to Dave Lewandowski of IndyCar.com.
With a rookie performance like that, he should find himself passing cars at the Indy 500 again in the near future.
Records Were Made to Be Broken
The 2013 Indy 500 was anyone’s race. That’s apparent by the record amount of lead changes that occurred throughout the event.
IndyCar PR tweeted the breaking of the record following the race:
INDYCAR PR @INDYCARPR
There were a record 68 lead changes today. An Indy 500 record.5/26/2013, 6:59:05 PM
Additionally, there were a record-setting 14 different lap leaders and an impressive 27 cars still running at the race’s finish. The previous record of 26 running cars was set in 1911.
Tony Kanaan Finally Kisses the Bricks
It took 12 tries, but Brazilian Tony Kanaan finally added the elusive Indianapolis 500 title to his resume.
Kanaan, 38, had led the Indy 500 for a total of 221 laps prior to finally tasting victory in 2013. That was the third-most laps led by anyone without a win, trailing closely behind Michael Andretti and Rex Mays.
He also had two near-wins, including a heartbreaking second-place finish in 2004 after leading for 28 laps.
But 2007 may have been the biggest letdown of the Brazilian’s career. Bad luck prompted a late-race meltdown. Rain delayed the race during the late stages of the race, and he lost the lead. Kanaan had led for 83 of the race’s 200 laps prior to the rain-caused caution that resulted in his 12th-place finish.