Rookie Alexander Rossi celebrates his win from victory lane in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
American Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport has won the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Rossi, who will also win Rookie of the Year, was the top rookie in practice all month and caps the second win in three years for Andretti Autosport.
"I have no idea how we pulled that off,” said Rossi from victory lane. “I can’t believe we’ve done this." Alexander Rossi is just the 8th driver to win the race at the age of 24 or younger.
Only three drivers have won in their first start in the Indianapolis 500 in the last 50 years. Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000, Helio Castroneves in 2001, and Alexander Rossi today. Rossi is just the second American to win the race since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006; Ryan Hunter-Reay won in 2014.
Rossi had a 4.4975 lead over second place driver, and teammate Carlos Munoz.
"I'm very disappointed when it comes to fuel and you lose from that,” said Munoz after the race. "I will win this race one day,” he added.
Munoz was in contention towards until having to stop for fuel with less than 10 laps remaining and couldn’t catch Rossi. Rossi stayed out on the track and ran out of fuel shortly after winning the race.
Defending champion Juan Pablo Montoya’s disappointing month came to an early end on lap 64 as he spun out and made wall contact in turn 2.
"It's just difficult. People are doing dumb things on the restarts. I was just taking my time coming through the field and the car felt pretty good. It just snapped out of nowhere,” said Montoya after being cleared from the medical center.
Montoya finished the race 33rd and becomes the third driver to finish last the year after winning the race. Jimmy Bryan was the first in 1959, followed by Johnny Rutherford in 1977.
“When the clouds came over the track my car came to life and that’s what we were hoping for,” said Montoya. “I don’t know. It’s just disappointing. Our Verizon Chevy was really good. Just a tough day.”
Pole sitter James Hinchcliffe battled for the lead most of the race and was in contention until the final laps. Hinchcliffe finished the race in seventh place, over 12 seconds back from Rossi. Hinchcliffe was driving in his first Indianapolis 500 since nearly dying in a crash during practice last year. He came into the race with momentum as he had the top speed in both qualifying positions last weekend.
Josef Newgarden, started the race in second and looked strong all day. He finished the race in third place. "My priority was staying out front, going all out. My sole focus was to get to the last 3-5 laps and be up front,” said Newgarden after the race.
Sage Karam was the next driver to exit the race as he hit the wall on lap 94. "I wish I didn't go into Turn 1 side by side,” said Karam about the accident as he was attempting to overtake Townsend Bell. Karam said his knee was sore after being checked out but “more bummed than hurt.” Karam was in his first race since being involved in the accident that took the life of Justin Wilson. Debris from his car flew around the track as the rest of the field drove past. The nosecone from Karam's car struck the helmet of Justin Wilson as he rounded a turn.
On lap 115, Russian Mikhail Aleshin hit the wall and retired from the race. Aleshin, who was having a good month was disappointed after the race.
“We don’t know (what happened). At the moment, think something was wrong in the rear right suspension or something like this or maybe it was a tire,” said Aleshin. “The car just went like sideways like big time and it didn’t do it before. All race, the car was good and then just suddenly the rear went and I couldn’t do anything. I just couldn’t catch it anymore.”
During the pit stops that took place during this caution Andretti teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell made contact with each other in the pit lane. Both drivers were looking strong up until this point and were not a factor for the remainder of the race. During this caution, Alex Tagliani took the lead after staying out on the track and has now lead a lap in six straight Indy 500’s.
Buddy Lazier was the next to exit the race. Lazier, who did not start the race with the rest of the field after going to the garage shortly after the parade lap was on pace to work back up to 27. He drew the next caution as he had a tire fall off of his car.
Takuma Sato hit the wall on lap 163 to bring out the next caution in the race. During this caution JR Hildebrand took the race lead. This was his first time leading a race since having the lead on the final lap of the 2011 Indy 500. In that race he crashed coming out of turn 4 and Dan Wheldon went on to win.
Rossi took the lead on lap 196 after several drivers took to the pits for gas. Rossi took the gamble on his fuel and it would prove to be successful, and the American driver won the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. "I didn't know (if he had enough fuel on the closing laps)," Rossi said. "Ryan (Hunter-Reay) was giving me a tow at the end. I'm just thankful to do this on the 100th running.”
In total there were 55 lead changes in the race. This marks the second most lead changes in race history. 2013 had the most lead changes with 68.
1 Alexander Rossi
2 Carlos Munoz
3 Josef Newgarden
4 Tony Kanaan
5 Charlie Kimball
6 JR Hildebrand
7 James Hinchcliffe
8 Scott Dixon
9 Sebastien Bourdais
10 Will Power
11 Helio Castroneves
12 Oriol Servia
13 Marco Andretti
14 Graham Rahal
15 Max Chilton
16 Jack Hawksworth
17 Alex Tagliani
18 Pippa Mann
19 Simon Pagenaud
20 Gabby Chaves
21 Townsend Bell
22 Matt Brabham
23 Bryan Clauson
24 Ryan Hunter-Reay
25 Spencer Pigot
26 Takuma Sato
27 Mikhail Aleshin
28 Stefan Wilson
29 Conor Daly
30 Buddy Lazier
31 Ed Carpenter
32 Sage Karam
33 Juan Pablo Montoya