Sunday provided one of the most thrilling finishes in the history of the Indianapolis 500.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves were involved in a breathtaking duel over the final six laps of the race. The two drivers displayed impeccable maneuvering, jockeying back and forth in attempt to hold the lead.
After two lead changes, Hunter-Reay took the lead on the penultimate lap and fended off Castroneves to earn his first-ever Indianapolis 500 victory.
The finish was the second-closest in the race's history, according to a tweet from Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch:
The 0.0600 margin of victory was second closest in Indy 500 history, the '92 win by Al Unser Jr. over Scott Goodyear remains No.1.— Tim May (@TIM_MAYsports) May 25, 2014
Here's a look at the complete race results:
|5||Juan Pablo Montoya||1.3233|
The complete results can be found at IndyCar.com.
The win by Hunter-Reay marks the first by an American-born driver since 2006, courtesy of a tweet from ESPN Stats & Info:
Ryan Hunter-Reay: 1st American-born driver to win Indy 500 since 2006 (Sam Hornish Jr.)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2014
May tweeted a statement from the very excited Hunter-Reay in Victory Lane:
Ryan Hunter-Reay on Indy 500 win: "A dream has come true today. And I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure.”— Tim May (@TIM_MAYsports) May 25, 2014
While Hunter-Reay celebrated, Castroneves was left to wonder what may have been.
One of the most decorated Indianapolis 500 drivers of all time, Castroneves entered the 98th running of the race in search of history. With three wins already under his best, Castroneves would have been just the fourth driver in history to win the prestigious race four times.
He fell just short.
Still in disbelief after the race, Castroneves couldn't believe how close the finish was, according to a tweet from Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star:
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
Rounding out the top three was Marco Andretti. He entered the race looking to make history of his own, as an Andretti hasn't won the Indianapolis 500 since 1969, via a tweet from ESPN Stats & 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
Andretti ran a very strong race, but he was just edged out in the end.
Kurt Busch was phenomenal in his IndyCar debut. He finished in an impressive sixth place just in time to grab a flight to Charlotte to compete in Sunday evening's NASCAR Coca-Cola 600.
Stewart-Haas Racing tweeted exactly how astonishing Busch's finish was:
Kurt Busch finished 6th in the Indy 500. Busch joins Robby Gordon (2000) and Stewart (2001) as drivers to finish 6th in 1st leg of Double.— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) May 25, 2014
The day held an unfortunate ending for pole-sitter Ed Carpenter.
Carpenter ran a strong race—holding near the front of the pack—until he was derailed due to a crash with James Hinchcliffe.
A visibly angry Carpenter spoke with media following the crash and didn't hold back his thoughts, according to a tweet from Rich Nye of WTHR:
In the race's aftermath, the season standings were shaken up in a big way.
Here's a look at the updated IndyCar standings following the Indianapolis 500:
|7||Juan Pablo Montoya||152||122||5||0||2||2|
The complete series standings can be found at NBCSports.com.
Hunter-Reay now has a 40-point lead over Will Power following his win on Sunday. He also became the season's first multi-race winner.
Which driver was most impressive in the Indy 500?
Castroneves and Andretti bolstered their positions within the top five despite neither earning a victory yet this season.
The season is still young, and these drives will soon put full focus on the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit on Saturday and Sunday.
Last year, Mike Conway and Simon Pagenaud earned victories in Detroit. Each has recorded a win so far this season, and they have great changes to join Hunter-Reay as multi-race winners in 2014.
If the Indianapolis 500 is a prelude for what's to come over the remaining portion of the season, we're in for some major excitement.
Hang on to your hats.