Hunter-Reay wins 2014 Indianapolis 500 in second-closest finish in history

IndyCar, IndyCar News/Releases, INDYCAR PR — By on May 25, 2014 6:19 pm
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[Source: INDYCAR press release]

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For the full list of results and reports, visit More Front Wing’s 2014 Indianapolis 500 Event Summary.

Hunter-Reay prevails in second-closest finish

INDIANAPOLIS (May 25, 2014) – Ryan Hunter-Reay was denied a shot at a final-lap victory in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race because of a yellow flag for a single-car incident in Turn 1. Third place was his career high in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” but the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident wanted more.

A similar situation materialized in the 98th edition, but this time Hunter-Reay was the one drinking the milk in Victory Circle.

Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport, held off three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves by a hair-raising .0600 of a second — the second-closest margin of victory in the history of the event — in a six-lap shootout to claim his first Indy 500 victory. Marco Andretti finished .3171 of a second back for his third third-place finish in nine starts.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Hunter-Reay, who is the first American winner since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006. “This (race) is American history; this is better than a championship. I hope the fans loved it because I was on the edge of my seat.”

Hunter-Reay started 19th. There were 34 lead changes among 11 drivers.

Castroneves overtook Hunter-Reay in Turn 1 on Lap 199 of 200 entering Turn 1, but Hunter-Reay led at the finish line by .0235 of a second.

“I did everything I could do,” said Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske car. “What a fight.”

Carlos Munoz, who finished second last year as a rookie, finished fourth, and 2000 Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya was fifth. Kurt Busch, who had 600 more miles of racing left in North Carolina, placed sixth in his first Indy car race.

Race officials red-flagged the race on Lap 192 for seven minutes to fix the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier and clean up from the single-car incident involving Townsend Bell’s No. 6 Robert Graham KV Racing Technology entry. Bell had been running fifth — 1.8 seconds behind Hunter-Reay.

The first caution flag flew on Lap 150 when the No. 83 car driven by Charlie Kimball made light contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. The record for longest stretch before a first yellow flag had previously been set at 65 laps in 2000. The four yellow flags tied the record for fewest (1990); the Speedway started recording cautions in 1976.

Graham Rahal was the first to retire from the race with an electrical issue in the No. 15 entry. Tony Kanaan, who won the race in 2013, developed an early suspension issue and finished 26th.

Round 6 and 7 of the Verizon IndyCar Series will be telecast live on ABC May 31 and June 1 for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix — both races at 3:30 p.m. (ET).

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “It’s a dream come true man. I can’t even believe it. I don’t know. This is just the most fantastic team for what they’ve given me. My dream has come true today and I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure. (Q: tell us about passing and repassing Helio) “There was no practice for it. We never really ran those lines at all the whole month and that was all new. Everything everybody was doing at the end was all new. I didn’t know if we had what it took but I’ve got the best team behind me. Nobody can stand on their own without a good team behind them.”

(Q: Beccy said last night you were very confident?) “I knew we had a good race car. We didn’t qualify well but we (did) bring it to the front. This is just a dream come true. I’ve watched this race since I was in diapers sitting on the floor in front of the TV. My son did it today. He watched me here. I’m thrilled. This is an American tradition, our auto industry is based on it…” (Q: What will you cherish most about winning the Indy 500) “Having my family here with me and being with this bunch. This is my fifth year in Andretti Auto Sport. I have such a great team. They were behind me every step of the way and you know what? It went green the whole way and I love that. Winning it under green like that with just a fantastic finish, we all raced each other clean but really hard. I think that was a fantastic race. I hope the fans loved it because I was on the edge of my seat that’s for sure.”

BECCY HUNTER-REAY (Wife of Ryan Hunter-Reay): “Oh my god, when lap 199 came I was like no, no, no, no you just gotta get this! We just won the Indy 500. He deserves it so much. I can’t wait to get my little guy down there.”(Q: he had one of the most aggressive moves of the race. What was going through your mind?”)”I knew he was going to do whatever it took to win this one. I’ve got to go drink milk.”

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NEXT PAGE: More quotes from Verizon IndyCar Series racers from the 2014 Indianapolis 500

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