On Sunday, Ryan Hunter-Reay became the first American to win the Indianapolis 500 since Sam Hornish Jr. did so in 2006. When asked about his accomplishment in Victory Lane, Hunter-Reay had one simple statement, according to a tweet from Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press:
"I'm a proud American boy, that's for sure," RHR— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) May 25, 2014
He went on to speak about how important the win was for him, via NASCAR on ESPN:
After jockeying for position with Helio Castroneves over the final few laps—including two lead changes—the sprint to the finish line was a breathtaking sight. Hunter-Reay barely edged Castroneves for the second-closest finish in the race's history, per Ray Wert of TinyToyCar.com:
With a margin of victory of just .0060, this was the second closest finish in #Indy500 history!— Ray Wert (@raywert) May 25, 2014
This marks Hunter-Reay's first-ever Indianapolis 500 victory. He's been having a phenomenal season, and his prowess behind the wheel continued to shine brightly Sunday.
Upon the race's conclusion, there was only one thing left for the driver to do, shown here via a tweet from Fox Sports:
Although it was a great day for Hunter-Reay, not every driver shared the same feeling.
Castroneves entered the race chasing history, as he was attempting to become just the fourth driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 four times. The last driver to do so was Rick Mears in 1991. Upon the race's conclusion, his body language said it all. Take a look at this tweet from Grant T. Pugh of WTWO Sports:
Castroneves wanted to get a closer look at the race's finish, and Stephen Holder of The Indianapolis Star reported his reaction:
Helio Castroneves here in the interview room staring at race results on tv screen in disbelief. "Man that was REALLY close."— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) May 25, 2014
Meanwhile, Marco Andretti finished in third place on the day. He had a strong car throughout the race and held the lead for a short while, attempting to become the first Andretti to win the Indianapolis 500 since 1969, according to a tweet from ESPN Stats and Info:
Marco Andretti takes the lead in Indianapolis. Only one Andretti has won an Indy 500. Marco's grandfather Mario in 1969.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2014
One big storyline coming into the race was NASCAR driver Kurt Busch's attempt to complete the Indianapolis 500 and then head to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday evening. Busch ran strong in Indianapolis, finishing in sixth place. It was quite a feat for his first IndyCar start, per Marty Smith of ESPN:
Congratulations @KurtBusch, ties best Indy 500 finish ever for a driver attempting The Double. In his first series start. Insane, really.— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) May 25, 2014
We'll see if the driver can keep up his momentum for another 600 miles.
Sage Karam—the 19-year-old phenom and the race's youngest driver—had a remarkable debut. He began in 31st position and weaved his way through traffic to finish ninth. Andy Hamilton of The Des Moines Register noted Karam's impressive run:
Sage Karam was the biggest mover of the #Indy500. He started 31st and finished 9th. Next was winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, who started 19th.— Andy Hamilton (@Andy_Hamilton) May 25, 2014
It was an unfortunate outing for pole-sitter Ed Carpenter, though. He collided with James Hinchcliffe and was unable to finish the race.
An angry Carpenter was interviewed soon after the crash and was visibly upset with Hinchcliffe, according to a tweet from Rich Nye of WTHR:
No matter the finishing position of each competing driver, they'll all be shifting their focus to the upcoming Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit next Saturday and Sunday.
We still have a close race atop the IndyCar standings, and the season is still young. If the Indianapolis 500 is any indication of what's to come, we're in for one wild ride.