It was as if the first 199 laps didn’t even take place.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves swerved back and forth throughout the final turns during the Indy 500, and Hunter-Reay just barely held Castroneves off for an impressive victory. In fact, Ray Wert of Tiny Toy Car pointed out how historically close the 2014 edition of the race was:
With a margin of victory of just .0060, this was the second closest finish in #Indy500 history!— Ray Wert (@raywert) May 25, 2014
Here is a look at how Hunter-Reay and the rest of the top 10 finished:
|5||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet|
As SportsCenter noted, Hunter-Reay became the first American to win the race in quite some time:
Ryan Hunter-Reay becomes first American driver to win the Indianapolis 500 since Sam Hornish won in 2006. pic.twitter.com/GByfPO1CFC— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 25, 2014
Hunter-Reay passed Castroneves at the Yard of Bricks and thrilled fans with an incredibly tight final lap. It was only fitting that Hunter-Reay held on for victory because he was actually passed with a mere three laps remaining last year and finished in third place, as the race ended under caution.
Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press captured Hunter-Reay’s memorable quote after the race was over:
"I'm a proud American boy, that's for sure," RHR— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) May 25, 2014
He certainly had every reason to feel that way.
Castroneves was attempting to become only the fourth driver in the history of the event to win four Indianapolis 500s, and he could not have come any closer. Sports Illustrated gave fans a glimpse into how close it actually was:
It certainly had to be a devastating defeat, but he seemed to have somewhat of an upbeat attitude after the race, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com: “It was a great fight. I tell you what, I was having a great time. Unfortunately second. It’s good, but second sucks, you know what I mean?”
Of course, the vast majority of the field would have loved to finish in second place, but that bit of knowledge probably didn’t help Castroneves at all after the race. Fortunately, he has a number of impressive successes under his belt at the Indy 500 to fall back on.
It’s safe to say Kurt Busch had a busy Sunday.
He finished in sixth place at the Indy 500 and then nearly immediately after the race headed out toward North Carolina for the evening’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports was certainly impressed:
Well done by NASCAR vet, but #Indy500 rookie Kurt Busch. Never threatened, but finished 6th. Top rookie.— Jerry Palm (@jppalmCBS) May 25, 2014
Busch did have some comments after the race before he jumped on his helicopter, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:
"All in all, I'm very pleased. I cannot believe the execution of this team. I tried to enjoy it. My throat's real dry because I was smiling the whole time and the fresh air was coming in my mouth."
While his attempt is certainly impressive, as is a sixth place finish at the Indy 500 regardless of evening plans, Busch will be hard pressed to put forth a solid effort in North Carolina. The Sprint Cup race is 600 miles, which means he is going for an incredible 1,100 miles in a single day.
Three other drivers have made the same attempt, but only Tony Stewart was able to actually complete the feat. Ironically, Stewart was also sixth at Indy and managed to finish in third place in Charlotte.
It would be an historically excellent day if Busch could do the same.
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