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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MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): “Yeah, I mean, close but we never really dominated. You could say that Ryan and Helio did. The only way we had a shot is if those two got together. They were putting so many blocks on me that there was nothing I could do. Every time we got to the front, we got shuffled back. I think we did what we could, but congrats to Ryan, he almost took me out in Turn 3 — I almost crashed. I think if it wasn’t for the Indy 500, I was going to be pretty mad at Ryan, but it is for the Indy 500 and he’s up there and I’m not. This is as competitive as IndyCar has ever been. I don’t care what anyone has to say. We were close, but we never really dominated. Every time we got to the front we got shuffled back. I think we did what we could, but congrats to Ryan (Hunter-Reay). He almost took me out in Turn 3. I almost crashed.” (On the intensity of the battles on the track): “I think if it wasn’t for the Indy 500, I would be pretty mad at Ryan. But it is for the Indy 500. He’s up there and I’m not, so what are you going to say? I think this is as competitive as IndyCar has ever been, I don’t care what anybody has to say.”"

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda): “I was very upset that we had a mechanical issue, because our car had a great pace. We were racing Bourdais and Wilson early on, and I was very competitive with them. They finished in the top-10, so I’m very disappointed I wasn’t able to race them at the end. Being off of the lead lap ruined our day, but I still gained valuable experience since this was my first oval race. The crowd was so much larger than I expected, but it would have been nicer to get a result that reflected our true ability in front of them.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): “All of a sudden, it just started to slide mid-pack (mid-apex). I tried to catch it and there was no catching it. I feel really bad for the guys. We had a pretty strong car all day. I think Ed really looked like the one to be beat. He crashed too, so it could be anybody. I’m just bummed for Team Target, Chip, and everybody on the team.” (Asked about the cautions happening after so many laps) “It’s what’s going to happen, so hopefully everybody stays safe out there and everyone enjoys the race.” (Asked if he’s fine after crash) “Yeah, just slapped my hand a little bit. Nothing too much.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): “It’s tough really. Our day was pretty much over before it started with the issues we had on pit lane. When you go that many laps down you simply cannot recover. I always say this place chooses the winner and unfortunately today she didn’t choose us.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda):”You know, it could have been the last restart and you have to go for it. Ed gave me the room initially. I honestly don’t think Townsend (Bell) knew we were three-wide. I haven’t seen the replay yet, but from what I saw Townsend came down into Ed, who came down into me. I was the last guy there, so I have to take a portion of the blame for sure. I feel bad for Ed. I knew Townsend had popped out, but I honestly didn’t think he’d hold the outside. You just can’t do that here. Partially my fault. Partially Townsend’s fault. 100 percent not Ed’s fault.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): “We had a good day going until lap 130 or so. Just had some issues with communication and then ran out of fuel and then we couldn’t get the engine fired back over. It just died. Then we lost laps and we got punted under a yellow so just a horrible day for all our boys that worked hard. We had a good car so we’ll try to go to Detroit and be better.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) tried to make three wide in turn one with 25 laps to go. Not a smart move. It wrecked both of our races. I told him if he didn’t have a concussion last week that I would have punched him in the face. It wasn’t a green-white-checkered situation. Of all of the guys out there, I wouldn’t have thought it would be Hinch. I am pretty good friends with him and those guys at Andretti. I think he just didn’t use his head right then. I totally believe we were right in the mix with Ryan (Hunter-Reay), Helio (Castroneves) and Marco (Andretti). I was running with Ryan right then and we had swapped the lead a few times. We got a little fortunate in the middle of the race when we blistered a right rear tire and had to pit earlier than we wanted. We were able to hold off the leaders then when the yellow came out. I was back up front and the car felt good. We were just trying to figure out how to set a guy up for the last lap of the race. It just stinks.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “Any day that you are not sitting in victory lane and drinking the milk, it’s a disappointment. For us, the Preferred Freezer Service Chevy team, it’s frustrating because we had a really good car. We had an issue with a tire that got us out of the pit sequence. The car got bad with the tire issue. I had to pit or I was going to crash. But the car was fast. We passed a ton of guys today including in the end. It was nice earlier when we jumped from ninth to third and I was running with Ed. I’m happy for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and it’s a bummer for Ed. We had really good cars today. It was fun to drive the ECR car. In those first few stints, the car was just a pleasure to drive. I’m happy the car is in one piece and I think we showed we had some speed today. We had the pace of the leaders and I ran with all of those guys at one time today. As the track got hotter, the other guys were sliding around so much. So I felt without that early pit stop, we would have been right there too. We got caught out a little by the late yellow flag. I had to come back and pass a lot of cars. To run up front, you need a great equipment and level head on your shoulders. Frankly, I’m disappointed with tenth. We had a stronger car. It was fun to race with the ECR guys. I would love to get into a full-time deal with this team. This team is very good.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): (Townsend Bell) hits the wall and it’s right at that point that he’s coming back across so at that point I had to dive the other way and it was just a complete debris field. And you can’t change directions so I hit the engine cover and it broke the front wing and the mirror. Right before the cockpit opening so I’m pretty lucky. We were right behind Bourdais in eighth and we were struggling, but that would have been another top-10 finish at Indy but we ended up 22nd which is so disappointing. What can you do? (About the initial green flag run). I thought it was never going to go yellow. There was a few times when I was pushing and loose. The car was a handful at times. I got on the radio and said ‘I hope someone crashes before I do because it’s not going to be long!’ It was frustrating. I think we just missed it today.

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “The race was pretty good for me. I ran the maximum I could and finished the race 17th. I would have loved to have a better result but that is what I had today and that is what it is. The race played out how I expected it to but I didn’t expect so many stints during green flag running. The end got a bit crazy but I managed to stay out of the crashes. Everything was a bit strange to me because oval racing is new to me so I am learning all the time and l am listening to what the other drivers have to say and learning from that.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS KVAFS Racing Chevrolet): “15th place is very welcomed after a very long day out there. I am very proud of my KV AFS Racing boys because they never gave up. We didn’t have the best car, but we kept fighting and even with a broken wing at the end we still never gave up. We were able to pick up some great points today, which will help us towards the championship. We will come back stronger next year but from where we started in 32nd, survive and finish 15th was a huge accomplishment.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): “I think we were missing a little bit of speed. I tried to give everything down on the track. I pushed hard. I’m really happy for the team. They won the 500 – first, third, and fourth. It’s a great result for the team. Congratulations to Ryan (Hunter-Reay). CARLOS MUNOZ – “I’m really happy for the team. They won the 500 – first, third, and fourth. It’s a great result for the team. Congratulations to Ryan (Hunter-Reay). I’ve been second and fourth. You know, I’ve been second and fourth. Hopefully, next year, I’ll have another show to do it.”

JACQUES VILLENEUVE (No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Today went according to plan. I started toward the back, so I took a very easy start and didn’t go for broke on the first lap. Early on I wasn’t very happy with the car, so I hung back and focused on not losing a lap. During the pit stops we steadily improved the car, and luckily we got our lap back somehow. At the end of the race I felt that my car was really starting to catch its stride, and I drove more aggressively. I was amazed at how many laps we did without a yellow flag. Normally this race feels like a marathon, but today I felt like it was flying by. It was almost like nothing was going on. Everyone was just minding their own business turning laps. I definitely want to come back, because 14th isn’t good enough. After being away for 19 years I was happy to be running quickly at the end, though. We ended on the lead lap and stayed away from the wall, so I think that’s an acceptable result for being away for so long!”-

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet):”Unfortunately I made a mistake on one of the pit stops when I was resetting the fuel. I pressed the wrong button. We got a penalty for that but we came back. I was proud of the way we fought. I don’t think we had anything for the (Ryan) Hunter-Reay or Helio (Castroneves). But I was happy with the Verizon Chevy and it was good to be back in Indy. It was cool to watch them swap the lead back and forth of the final laps. I had a good seat for it. I just wish we were in the middle of it, but we just had too much understeer at the end.”

“We didn’t have anything for the guys up front; we just had too much understeer in traffic. But, I’m happy for the Verizon car. It’s good to be back here in Indy and it was an exciting race. It was a fun race. That battle at the end was cool to watch. I would have liked to be a part of that more, but we had a little too much understeer there at the end.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): “This is our luck; I don’t know what to say. We had an engine electronic problem and the engine kept shutting off. I didn’t think it was running quite right to start and all of a sudden the engine just kept shutting off. We pitted to try to find out what the problem was then went out for a couple of laps and it just kept shutting off so it was unsafe to continue. I’m sorry for all the National Guard folks that are here. Unfortunately in a case like this, there is not much you can do. It is some gremlin. It was our first race with the National Guard on Memorial Day weekend and we wanted to make them proud. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to succeed today. Today is just not our day.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “We ran the best at the end of the race but I honestly still feel that we lack some grip. I couldn’t get close to people and if you can’t get close to people, you cannot pass them. We had a good race overall but I was really hoping that the track officials would decide to sweep the marbles like they should because we had around three quarters of the race under green so there were a lot of marbles and pieces of debris out there and that’s why you couldn’t pass anybody which is a shame because you can’t go side-by-side. I don’t know why they decided not to clean the track. I could have been a much better race.”

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