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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SAGE KARAM (No. 22 Comfort Revolution/Brantley Gilbert Chevrolet): Hats off to my team. They did an awesome job. The Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom boys gave me an awesome car. It was stable all day and I was able to come from the back and get a top 10 – I will take it! 150 laps straight of green-flag racing takes a toll on you. My foot even hurts from the vibrations of keeping it flat for so long. Now I know why they say this is the hardest race to win in the world. We were looking good, we were running in eighth when a yellow flag came out right when I pitted. We ended up going a lap down and had to get the wave around and go to the back of the filed. It messed up our strategy, if we were out for another lap or so I believe we could have been in the top five. They team did awesome. I had so much fun out there. I am so grateful and blessed to have just run in the Indy 500.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 6 Robert Graham KV Technology Chevrolet):”I got hit in that three-wide on the restart in the left rear and earlier in the race with (Tony) Kanaan when I was inside of him and he was squeezing me, I clipped the wall with the left rear. It just knocked it too much out of toe. It was loose all race and then in the end, I was just trying to go for it to see if we could get to the front. You don’t get those chances very often, but unfortunately the left rear just took too much pounding during the day to make it work and it got away from me. I hate to end that way. That was a pretty good hit. I’ll be pretty sore.” (On the three-wide restart with Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe that damaged his car): “I thought I was side-by-side with just Ed in turn one. I didn’t realize someone else, I think it was Hinch maybe, had forced three-wide, which is pretty optimistic. I haven’t seen a replay but I would guess Ed didn’t have anywhere to go. I was giving him room for one car, I didn’t know there was a third one that had ducked in. Nonetheless, I thought we would just hang on there in the top five. We didn’t really have anything to charge to the front, given the way the toe was knocked out.” (What’s it like watching the end of the race from the medical center?) “It just sucks. Should be out there racing with those guys.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing Honda): “We struggled today. We had a lot of inconsistency in terms of balance between different sets of tires. One of the tires blistered in the second half of the race, and we lost a lap when we pitted early to change it. I’m quite pleased with 12th in the end when you consider how difficult our day was. We were able to gain several spots on the last restart, but on normal running we weren’t where we needed to be today. This sport is interesting. In our last Verizon IndyCar Series race, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, we were the class of the field and won. Today that wasn’t the case, but congratulations to Honda on winning the Indianapolis 500. I’m so proud to be part of the development of their engines, and a Honda win for any driver here is special. They work so hard, and it’s nice to see them rewarded.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut/Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “Not a great day, but a good day. I am really happy for the Hydroxycut/Mistic E-Cigs crew. We struggled a bit with the car the whole month, but we stuck with it and got the best out of it today. We didn’t start in the front so it was a challenge to get there. Overall it was a strong performance, a good result and we got double points. Now we move on to Detroit.”

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 68 SFHR/RW Motorsports Honda): We had a good start, made up six or seven spots at the start. We settled in there and then all of the sudden we got loose with the car. I really didn’t know if it was our tire balance or the aero dynamics, but we started with a lot of aero and the car was a bit slow in the straightaways. We were expecting some yellow flag stops so we could take some wing out, it takes a lot of time to take wing out, but for 150 laps there was no yellow. So we kept coming in on the green and those pit stops are crucial so we couldn’t really trim the car that much, so we weren’t quick enough. We had one stop where we decided to trim the car and the car came alive but by trimming the car we also lost the rear of it. The tire pressure over shot the rear so we were getting understeer in traffic and we were loose at the end of the stint, but we looked at our tire pressure during the run and understand what happened. We were just missing a little bit on tire pressure and aero to be better in traffic. We kept trimming the car until finally the car was balanced and quick enough to follow. We made some passes on re starts and had some good pit stops to make up some time. We were the only one who got penalized. Sage Karam was behind us and he didn’t get penalized. That black flag penalty hurt us. Then had another good re start and got tangled with Hawksworth and was dropped into the grass. The last re-start I picked up 7 spots and finished 13th. As a secondary effort, the team did a good job. We need another race to really know what we need to be spot on. It’s been a really interesting month and a lot of fun to see the way Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing operates. Until you work with a team you don’t know what it’s like, but it’s a team I’d like to drive with on a full time base for sure. Hopefully it’s a team that will become a 2-car program and I’ll be right there when that happens. It’s definitely a team with potential and if one day they do it, with what they showed me this month, it’s definitely something I’d be interested in looking at.

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Chevrolet): First of all, I want to thank Shell-Pennzoil for a great way to start and launch a new product. I appreciate that. I want to thank again Roger and Team Penske with all the sponsors. Great race. Second place, it’s interesting when second place kind of sucks. But certainly taking the positive out of this, it was a great race. I think you guys had a good time. Second thing, congrats to Andretti Autosport. Ryan Hunter-Reay, great race. He did everything he could. I did everything I could obviously to try to stop. Definitely unbelievable. The reason that I was down there, I didn’t know you were watching, to be honest, I was just trying to collect my thoughts and make sure I say the right things (laughter). I’m glad I did that because, as I said, it’s frustrating to be so close to something that only a few guys did. But I do not take for granted. I’m extremely happy with the result. The car worked really well during the race. The team did a great job during the pit stops. It was the first time having Roger on the radio. It was kind of awesome. We dodged, avoided a few issues out there, incidents, were able to put ourselves in a great position to win. Unfortunately, as I said, it wasn’t our day. It was great to see an American driver winning.

MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 41 ABC Supply/ A.J. Foyt Racing Honda):”It feels good to be able to finish my first 500. Many times, rookies crash out in their first one. We had a lot thrown at us today but we came through relatively unscathed. We were really battling the balance of the car. During the run, we developed a pretty severe vibration and oversteer. We tried to make some pit stop adjustments but we couldn’t really cure the oversteer.” Comparison to Le Mans? “The Indy 500 is a lot more mentally draining in one hit. Physically I felt okay except toward the middle of the race, I felt myself tense up in my left shoulder, as I was trying to hang on to the car which caused my left shoulder to cramp up.” Pageantry of the 500? “It was very hard to not get too excited with everything going on. The buildup is so emotional and overwhelming that you have to work hard to keep yourself even-keel and not get caught up in the moment.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “It was a good smooth start, I felt out the car and it was working reasonably well. I was able to move up in the first stint. It was very encouraging to get to the top 12 in the first 30 laps. We tried to adjust the car to make it better for traffic but maybe it was too greedy. The car reacted the opposite of what we wanted and got too loose and we lost positions in the next two stints. But halfway through the race we went back to where we started and we tried again. We gained back our speed and moved back to the top 12. By the way, those were the longest green flag stints I ever had in the 500. But unfortunately on Dixon’s accident, I collected a big piece of carbon fiber debris [in the leading edge of the right side underwing]. When I restarted fifth, I thought the next 20 laps were going to be quick but I lost a lot of downforce and speed so we had to pit to fix the car. We just ran out of time. It was a disappointing result but the boys did a great job in the pits all day and I think we gained a great experience as a team. It was a tough day but a good day.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet): “(The broken left front spindle) happened in the incident when I brushed the wall. The thing just rotated. I think we were having a fairly decent race. We just kept digging for it, trying to make the car a little better. We might have gotten a little too aggressive as the track progressively heated up. It was too bad for Chip Ganassi Racing. I feel bad for the guys; they did a really good job, gave me good stops and we were moving forward. I think we were around the top 15 and doing everything we could to get a top 10 out of it. The safety team thought it might just have been a bent front wing, but it was worse than that, so we parked it.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 98 Charter/Castrol Edge Honda): “It was a pretty eventful race. The Integrity Energee Drink car felt pretty good at some points but we struggled at others. It wasn’t the result that we were hoping for, but on to Detroit now and we’ll try to make up for it there.”

JAMES DAVISON (No. 33 KVRT/Always Evolving Racing Chevrolet): “I feel okay with the result. We had a solid race and we finished, so it was mission accomplished today. I feel we deserved a 12th-place result, based on who we were sitting behind prior to the last restart. But I got jammed up there into turn one and three cars went by me. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes it works against you. The KV Racing/Always Evolving team did a great job for me this month of May. We were the shortest program out there (in track time for the month) and maximized what we could with what time we had. We progressively trimmed the downforce out of the car today and added front center of pressure, which made me a little racier. I’m just very thankful to be here for the Indianapolis 500, hopefully the first of many for me.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet): “I’m just really upset with the finish. I got a run on (Will) Power. And he just completely drove me to the grass and chopped me and broke my front wing, It was dangerous driving, and I just can’t believe he didn’t get a penalty or anything. It was just absolutely stupid driving on his part and ruined our race after we did such a good job. We went a lap down early. We just waited for that Yellow. Finally, we got it. I got on the lead lap and basically pass all of these cars again. We had such a good car. We got it right up there to eighth at the end there on the final restart. Then Power; a dumb move killed our race. It’s disappointing, a top ten (finish) would have been good for the boys today.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was unbelievable that it went green for that long. We just screwed ourselves. A bloody speeding in pit lane penalty just ruined our day. Otherwise, we would have been in great shape. We had dropped back a little bit further than we wanted but it wasn’t bad. I could see the guys in the front dicing back and forth, as I thought it would be.”

KURT BUSCH (No. 26 Suretone Honda): “What an unbelievable experience. It is a dream come true to have an Andretti Autosport car to drive at Indy. I’m sure the car was a top five car. I was on edge those two restarts, making adjustments, trying to find air. I had to lift a little bit in turn two all day. All in all, I’m very pleased. I can’t believe the execution of this team. It’s a team effort, not just an individual. To be able to post a sixth-place finish was beyond my wildest expectations.”

“We settled in and ran laps and tried to pace ourselves. I just tried to feel the car all race long. My throat’s real dry because I was smiling the whole time and fresh air was coming in my mouth.”

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