Fifteen years after winning the Indianapolis 500 in his first attempt, Juan Montoya won his second Indy 500 in just his third start. After starting in 17th position and suffering damage in an early incident with Pippa Mann, Montoya rebounded nicely to capture his second bottle of milk at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was a far cry from his domination in the race 15 years ago, as the Colombian’s margin of victory over teammate Will Power was just 0.1046 seconds, the fourth closest finish in Indy 500 history.
The win gives team owner Roger Penske his 16th career Indy 500 win, extending his own record. He also won the Daytona 500 earlier this year with Joey Logano. He joins Chip Ganassi as the only owners to ever win the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in the same year. Ganassi did it twice, in 2008 and 2010. It’s also interesting to note that Montoya’s two Indy 500 wins are split between both owners, as he won in 2000 driving for Ganassi.
While second place is nice anywhere else, it’s almost gut wrenching at Indianapolis. Power knows how close he was to putting his face on the Borg Warner trophy. Still, he knows many people would gladly trade their month of May for his. “Anywhere else I’d be happy with second. But here. … It was a great month overall — first, first and second, second.”
Montoya made history on his way to victory on Sunday.
The race got off to a crawling start, after a couple of unexpected issues. Alex Tagliani had trouble getting his car into gear, but barely got it going just before the field got to him. The real disappointment came just minutes later, as Conor Daly’s hopes went up in flames. The young American driver worked so hard for so long to get this Indy 500 deal put together with Smithfield, only to see it go awry before he could even take the green flag. It was a heartbreaking scene, especially given the Noblesville driver’s love and appreciation for this race.
Once things got going, a nice pace was set. The race was dominated by the Penske and Ganassi teams, who were leading the way for Chevrolet. Pole sitter Scott Dixon and his teammate Tony Kanaan were swapping the lead quite a bit, both drivers looking for their second win at Indy. Unfortunately for Kanaan, his day came to a sudden end when he lost control on cold tires after a pit stop late in the race. For awhile, it looked as though the win would be decided between Dixon, Power, and Simon Pagenaud.
Interestingly enough, it was Charlie Kimball who would earn the best finish for the Ganassi team, coming home in third. Dixon had to settle for fourth after his car went away from him after his last pit stop. Graham Rahal rounded out the top five, in an impressive run after starting in 17th spot. Marco Andretti finished sixth, as he and Rahal were the only Honda powered cars in the top 11.
Helio Castroneves’ bid for a fourth trip to Victory Circle at Indy will have to wait at least another year. He finished seventh on a day where he never really looked like he had a car that could win the race. JR Hildebrand finished in eighth, in yet another strong run at Indy. His teammate Josef Newgarden was ninth, and Pageanud rounded out the top ten.
There were some impressive runs on Sunday, which included Montoya’s charge from 15th starting spot. Kimball’s third place finish came after starting in 14th, and Rahal started 17th and came away with a top five finish. Ryan Briscoe, filling in for the injured James Hinchcliffe, had a very impressive day, finishing 12th after starting in 31st. That also came on the heels of being hit by another car on the first lap of the race, which resulted in extra pit stops to repair the car.
Takuma Sato finished 13th after starting 24th and having that early accident with Sage Karam. Veteran Townsend Bell came home in 14th after starting in 23rd for DRR/Kingdom Racing. Gabby Chaves was the top finishing Rookie, who placed 16th after starting in 26th for the single car team of Bryan Herta Autosport.
In addition to the young American drivers (Daly, Karam, Clauson), there were others who had a race they would like to forget. Ed Carpenter and Oriol Servia were both doing okay, until they made contact in Turn 1. There was also a nasty crash involving Sebastian Saavedra, Jack Hawksworth, and Stefano Coletti on lap 175 that ended the day for all of them. Add Kanaan’s incident, and you have 11 cars that failed to finish the race due to contact and/or mechanical issues.
Dixon led the most laps on Sunday, with 84. There were ten drivers that led at least one lap on Sunday, with a total of 37 lead changes. With the win, Montoya regained the lead in the championship standings, now sitting 25 points ahead of Power. Pagenaud is in third, with Dixon back in fourth place.
The next race on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit, a pair of races this Saturday and Sunday. Both races begin at 3:30 PM ET and will air on ABC.
Highlights of the Indy 500 are below, courtesy of IndyCar.
Will Power: “I just had too much push when he got by. I had to lift on that last lap. He was definitely better when he got behind me. That’s why he got the run. Anywhere else I’d be happy with second. But here. … It was a great month overall — first, first and second, second.”
Juan Montoya: “That was an easy race. But this was a lot of work today. I mean, with Simona (de Silvestro) in back of me, that’s what happens when you qualify bad. You find yourself with the wrong crowd. We kept adding downforce and adjusting the car. It was fun because after the caution, when I was running like eighth, I could barely keep up with them. I’m like, ‘We don’t have anything.’ As we kept adjusting the car, (I thought) ‘Oh, that’s a little better, that’s a little better.’ That’s what you got to do, stay on top of the track. What really matters is the last 15 laps. That was fun racing. Probably the best racing. Between Will (Power) and (Scott) Dixon, we have a lot of respect for each other. We understand the risk and we understand when they got you. So it makes it fun.”
Stefano Coletti: “We had a pretty difficult start to the race. The No. 4 KVRT car had a lot of understeer in traffic, but with each pit stop we were able to make changes and in the end the car started to feel good in the last stint. We were finally able to run in the tow and attempt some passes. With about 25 laps to go, I was coming into Turn 4 and the two guys in front of me crashed and hit the wall and I was able to avoid the first one, but not the second. It’s unfortunate because I think I could have had a top 15, but that’s the way it ended. I just wanted to finish my first Indy 500 and I didn’t, so hopefully I can do better next year.”
Ryan Briscoe: “I just want to thank everyone for the opportunity to jump in the car at the last minute. We’re all thinking of Hinch and I was thinking of him during the race as well. It’s the Indy 500 and we had a good run. We moved forward from the last row up to twelfth. Not quite enough to get right up there, but I had a lot of fun. The pit stops were phenomenal. I really want to thank everyone at Arrow Electronics, Lucas Oil and all the other partners on the team. It’s been a whirlwind for the last four or five days for me, but I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people, made a lot of friends already and I really wish the SPM team the best for the rest of the season.”
JR Hildebrand: “It just says everything about this team and our sponsor, Preferred Freezer Services, for bringing us out here and being able to finish well. The CFH Racing boys have been busting their rear ends to get everything sorted out. The conditions could not have been trickier today. The cars were all over the place today. The track got away from us quickly, as expected, with the sun being out. I, along with a lot of other guys, was just hanging on for the first couple of stints. We had some dicing around in the pits, the stops kind of went both ways for us as we got through the race. We caught some timely yellows, caught some guys off strategy, and we ended up with a top ten. I can’t thank all of the guys here enough, Preferred Freezer and the CFH team for giving me a shot again this year. I’m bummed for Ed (Carpenter) that he didn’t get to finish the race out, but all-in-all, given how tough it was out there, I think we can be pleased with where we finished.”
James Jakes: “It was a tough day, really, for the No. 7 SPM MediaTech Oculus car. The car was pretty good in the first stint, but then we just seemed to let the balance get away from us a little bit. It was a long afternoon and we were right there in the end. Everybody knows that Chevy has a bit of an advantage so we really have to put it together from a Honda point of view, but we’re looking forward to Detroit next week and we’ll move on.”
Sage Karam: “I don’t know what Sato’s doing. Kind of a bonehead move. He sees me and (Ryan) Hunter-Reay side by side and the first lap he’s trying to make it three wide. I just don’t get it. The track’s clean right now, it’s swept so there’s no marbles up there and you can run high, but no reason to push a three-wide issue. I mean, just a very stupid move on his part. We had a good start, going through Turn 1 picked up about two spots already, was running side by side with Hunter-Reay, everything was cool. And with Sato, he had a big run, yeah, but he doesn’t need to go popping outside on Lap 1, Turn 1. It just doesn’t make sense. It ruins a lot of people’s races, you know.”
Scott Dixon: “The whole race went really well. We had a few little issues. All in all, the car had some pretty good speed. At the end there was a little bit of understeer. We were there all day. We were knocking on the door. We led a lot of laps. We just didn’t lead the right one. I’m proud of the Target team. The Chip Ganassi Team, all in all, did a hell of a job.”
Tony Kanaan: “We had been loose all day and we made a change for the last stop and it was apparently the wrong way to go. It’s unfortunate. We had a strong race all day between the Penske boys and the Ganassi guys. I feel bad for my sponsor, NTT Data and Bryant, they have a huge crowd here – but I was trying and actually we finally proved that we don’t flip every time we crash. … It’s track position, right? We had a little bit of a hiccup on one of the stops. I think I didn’t hit my marks and we lost three positions. We put ourselves back there. The car behaves a lot different with five cars in front of you instead of two. It is what it is. I’m glad I’m OK. It’s a very unfortunate thing to happen to me but if I had to prove it that we don’t flip cars anymore, here it is for the critics. (I’m) heartbroken but OK.”
Sebastien Bourdais: “It was a tough day for the Hydroxycut HAUS Vaporizer team. I was dreading these conditions because on Monday and Carb Day we saw that we were not on the money when the track temperature went up. Unfortunately, it was 85 degrees and windy today. The track temp got up to 125 degrees, so I just did the best I could. I really struggled on restarts and lost a bunch of positions. That is something I am going to have to work on. The balance wasn’t an issue we just lacked overall grip. I was hoping I could stay at the front and make up a couple of positions at the start of the race, but instead I lost a couple straightaway. However, we stuck it out and almost finished in the top-10, so we will move on from there. Overall, I feel kind of lucky and happy to finish 11th.”
Takuma Sato: “There was a bit of drama at Turn 1-was really disappointed. I was staying in my line outside going to Turn 1 outside and exited Turn 1 outside and it all looked good. The No. 8 car was just coming up and my front wheel was already in front of his rear wheel so I could do nothing. I was sandwiched between him and the wall. Unfortunately I had to come back to the pit and replace the front toelink and got a couple laps down. It took 150 laps to get our three laps back. The ABC boys did a good job on the pit stops and the strategy so that we were on the lead lap for the final restart. I had to work my way up from the back and I gained a couple positions in the end. It was a hard race and a really disappointing race.”
Graham Rahal: “I’m really, really proud of these guys, all the effort they continue to put in. I mean, once again today, the top Honda. The Chevy was just in a league of its own unfortunately on horsepower. I was happy we were as close to Chuck and Dixon at the end as we were. I thought there was no hope. With 15 to go, to be tenth or ninth, charge up through those guys, pretty tricky. A lot of fun. I thought the racing was really good. Again, 500 miles. We were good at times, bad at times. Lucky we ended on a high note. More important than anything, I said to my boys coming into today, no matter what, two things I wanted, that was to be the top Honda, and to keep up with the top three in points, top four. Unfortunately three of those guys finished ahead of us, but we still had a very good points day.”
Sebastian Saavedra:“Unfortunately I have no idea what happened. I was a victim of a rookie, but it’s something that makes you want to come back and do everything all over again. I’m feeling good – thankful of that I’m pretty lucky. I have an ankle sprain and some bone bruising, but I’m just happy for the whole Holmatro team that did an amazing job keeping me calm. I’m putting everything behind and trying to recover as quick as possible to see what’s the next race for us. Definitely not the way we wanted to finish the race. I think first of all that I’m very proud of absolutely everybody on the 17 car. We did not have any easy race out there but we never gave up. We fought our way through and we ended up with an amazing car. Amazing pit stops out there that put us in position to battle. Once we got the balance of the car right we started moving forward.”
Tristan Vautier: “Three cars of the team were involved in the incident and two of them are out. Nothing we could have done different on our side. We were just in our pit box and got hit. It sucks because the car was coming to us. We started off really bad and made some really good changes during the pit stops. It was really coming alive. We were looking forward to the second half of the race. We were actually starting to pass cars. It sucks but overall I am really happy that I got the chance to take my second start in the Indy 500.”
James Davison: “Well, we came in for our pit stop there, and the car was working as well as it had been all race. I think we just got sent right out into the path of Pippa (Mann) and contact was made that slammed my car into Tristan’s car – our sister car. Tristan and I sustained damage that ended our race. Obviously a crew member was hit and hurt and I’m just really hoping that he’s going to be OK.”
Ed Carpenter: “My guess is there’s probably some fault both ways (for the crash). I thought Oriol (Servia) blocked me a little too heavy for that point in the race. He got by me earlier and I didn’t block him as aggressively as that. Once I saw what he was going to do, I was on the brakes hard trying to get out of the situation and not crash either of us. It doesn’t really matter whose fault it is. At the end of the day, both of our days are over. End of a crappy month for me, just watch my teammates and see if they can pull something out.” … (On his bad luck in Turn 1 the past two years): “Yeah. It’s kind of starting to be annoying.”
Josef Newgarden: “I think we were fairly solid today. We didn’t have enough for the top guys. We definitely battled the conditions trying to keep the car underneath us. We kept digging. We had a great team at Carpenter Fisher Hartman, we had great pit stops, great leadership within the group. Everyone worked their tails off the whole month with some of the adversity we had. We did what we could. I don’t think we had enough at the end, but we were in the mix, and that’s pretty cool to say.”
Simon Pagenaud: “The car was amazing. I thank Team Penske. It was a great day. The Avaya crew was on it, fantastic pit stops. What a race – we led, we were just cruising behind (Scott) Dixon, saving fuel. At Lap 170, we knocked our front wing on Dixon and we had to come back in and we were last. We came back up to 10th in 10 laps. That just shows you how good the car was. I’m disappointed, too, but I’m really happy for Juan Pablo (Montoya) and Team Penske. It’s amazing. This team’s incredible.” (About Team Penske): “The cars they give us are just off the charts. They’re comfortable to drive, they’re fast and this team is all about winning. I want to thank Roger (Penske) and Tim Cindric for the opportunity.” (About teammate Montoya): “The guy is amazing, especially on ovals. He deserves to win. He came back. I guess he had a little issue at the beginning, he had time to recover. That’s Juan Pablo. He’s so good on those superspeedways. I’m going to have to learn from him a little bit. It’s great to be part of such a great team with such great teammates.”
Townsend Bell: “That was a wild race in the middle of the field today. I thought there was going to be a couple of big crashes on the back straight. I’m not sure how everyone made it through some of that stuff. At the end, there were people on the grass and in the gray stuff. At the start, I was sure than (Takuma) Sato was going to hit my right rear wheel when he came off the wall. I had to do a big swerve to avoid him. My first stint was pretty shaky as the car was pushing (understeer) badly. But we took on a half-turn of front wing and the Robert Graham Special really came alive. I think I passed like nine cars in the next stint. We really didn’t make too many changes throughout the race after that. The last stint wasn’t the best but our Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing crew was spectacular on the last pit stop. In fact, they were outstanding all day in with the pit stops. Overall, the conditions were difficult at the end and we didn’t have the setup to stay in the top-ten. Graham (Rahal) took fifth and I raced with him a lot today. We just were a little light in downforce later in the race. I’m happy to take it to the checkered flag. Just wish we would have finished up further on the scoring pylon.”
Justin Wilson: “Tough day for the No. 25. We had a vibration in one of our rear tires so we were forced to pit early because we were losing a lot of lap time. So we had to pit a few laps early and that’s when the yellow flag came out and that was it, we went a lap down and just tried to fight our way back to the front. We tried something with fuel mileage and strategy to get back into the front of the pack, but we were a lap short. Unfortunately since we were a lap short, we had to pit two laps till the end and not risk anything. It’s frustrating, but it’s just been a long, tough day. I want to thank Andretti Autosport for this opportunity, looking forward to hopefully working with them again.”
Carlos Munoz: “I made a mistake and received a drive-thru penalty; I didn’t hit the pit lane limiter or something… I don’t really know what happened there. Since we were at the back (of the field), we just tried to change our strategy a little bit, to not stop again, but we ended up two laps short. I think we were pretty fast, even in the end when I had our fuel saving map on and with more laps on our tires than anyone else. I think we had a good race. It’s a shame I made a mistake, but it is what it is, and hopefully next year I will have another shot to do it again.”
Marco Andretti: “It was a frustrating 500 miles; We lost some track position in the pits and I lost some more out on the track. It was just a hard fight to keep the car balanced, let alone try to win. I was just trying to be best in class, but there were so many times that I just got the short end of the stick. This stuff is hard to plan, but it’s been frustrating so hopefully we can turn things around heading into the next race weekend.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay: “Not a good day. It was bad from the start, we definitely have an issue with the car. It’s got some balance issues at the moment, compared to the rest of my Andretti Autosport teammates, even with the aero settings. We had to change some things around today to try and get the car to work. I’m just happy to bring the DHL Honda back in one piece.”
Simona de Silvestro: “It was kind of a so-so day. I made a bit of a mistake at the restart where I ran into (Juan Pablo) Montoya; it didn’t hurt him as much as it did us, I guess. It was a long day. The car felt pretty good, we just couldn’t get by people – that was the trickiest part – we really struggled on passing people. It felt great to be back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the fans were awesome. I wish we had a better result. I’m pretty disappointed but on to the next one. Huge thank you to everyone at TE Connectivity for giving me the opportunity, and the Andretti Autosport guys did an amazing job the whole month. So I’m looking forward to hopefully working with everyone here at Andretti again.”
Oriol Seriva: “I think Ed (Carpenter) got a little optimistic. I think he did to me what (James) Hinchcliffe did to him last year. Funny enough we talked about what happened the other day. He had a run on me but it was coming too late. I don’t know if he thought I was going to lift or something. I’m sure I’m going to get a phone call once he sees a replay. It’s a shame; I think we are both smart racers and we usually don’t do those things. The race is over, the one we really wanted to win. The car felt very good. I was just being really patient because the race was only half way and I felt really strong. The team kept asking about the car and I didn’t want to change anything because it felt so good. I just wanted to be there at the end, at the last pit stop. It’s unfortunate. I think he was struggling all day and frustrated. I’m very upset they didn’t send the sweepers earlier. When (Bryan) Clauson crashed, he crashed because there were so many marbles up there and I was on the radio saying ‘They need to clean if they want some racing.’ And they didn’t clean them so that’s another reason I was not going to stay high; the marbles were huge. I knew if I stayed high we were crashing and Carpenter knows that. Anyway, I’m thinking of next year already.”
Jack Hawksworth: “There was a bit of a gap for me to the big group that was in front and they had a huge checkup in front. I guess I misjudged my closing speed a little bit and I touched the back of the 17 and he spun and then we all started crashing. It was disappointing, but it was the last 20-30 laps of the Indy 500 and I was going for it. I’m fine but disappointed for the team and our sponsor, ABC, because we had a pretty decent car-maybe could have gotten a top-10. Not the day we wanted but we’ll try again in Detroit.”
Conor Daly: “We had a fuel leak that caused a fire in the back of the car and burned some key items, so sadly, that was our end of the race before it even started. It was a real shame for sure. These things happen in racing, though, so all we can do is look forward.”
Alex Tagliani: “It was a pretty eventful race for us, nothing I could ask more of from the guys. I am very appreciative and honored to be part of the Foyt family. I was really appreciative just to be here, it means a lot to me. Having the limited time we did, we were playing a little on the fly today with pit stops, so that hurt us a little bit, but other than that I think the race was OK. The car was fairly good, it was missing a bit of speed, but I think in general we can say we accomplished what we needed to accomplish as a team. Doing it last minute like this was very difficult for everyone, but we pulled it off. We managed to run all 500 miles without a problem on the car, and that says it all for all the hard work and preparation the Al-Fe Heat Treating guys put into the car. I am very, very proud of them.”
Pippa Mann: “Today ended up being a really long, tough day at the race track at the 99th Indianapolis 500. We had some handling issues throughout the race and the crew and engineers worked their tails off, trying to help bring the car to a place where I was more comfortable. My spotters did a fantastic job all day long, trying to help me out around the traffic of the faster cars. It was really hard avoiding some of the incidents out there. We picked up a little damage from one incident and then a little more damage from the second incident, resulting in some unplanned pit stops, and compounded our handling issues. In the end, I was very grateful to see the checkered flag and to be able to bring the pink Dale Coyne Racing car supporting Susan G. Komen home at the end of this year’s Indianapolis 500. I’d like to thank everyone who took part in our #GetInvolved campaign to help us raise funds and awareness for Susan G. Komen. We’ve raised over $58,000. … After a rough race, it’s great to know the campaign is already a success, and we haven’t even hit our deadline yet.”
Charlie Kimball: “I’m so happy with today’s result – it means a lot to finish in the top three at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet was obviously fast and we made up a lot of spots throughout the race. Whenever I asked for something with the car, the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys just kept making the car better and better. We’ve had some bad luck this season, so it’s nice to see our hard work finally start to pay off. I’m looking forward to Detroit and I’m hoping we can keep the good results coming.”
Bryan Clauson: “It wasn’t really that hard of a hit, that angle there. We were trying to run our own race and our car just went away there towards the end of that first run. Fell back from the pack and was right there in the thick of some leaders trying to get to the bottom and just got up a little high on a long green-flag run there, got up in the marbles and there was no saving it. I feel bad for my guys, these Jonathan Byrd’s Racing/KVSH guys that worked really hard this month. Obviously we struggled for speed all month, we were hanging in there just trying to run 500 miles and it was a dumb mistake.” (On his race tonight in Kokomo): “Yeah, hopefully I do a little better.”
Gabby Chaves: “It was a very good race for us. I wish I could go out there and do it again. One mistake cost us a lot of time. We had to drive back through the field. We drove all the way up to ninth before that last caution. Right before the caution, we were overtaking a car that was a lap down, lost our front wing. Very unfortunate. We didn’t change the wing just to see how long the caution would be, would stay. Unfortunately once we got back to green, it was a handful. I lost a few positions, lost a couple positions in that last stop as well, but we had a great car. We drove through the field twice, into the top 10 twice after two mistakes. I wish I could go out there and do it again. But I’m very happy with the job my crew did, my team. I’m super excited to keep using this momentum, keep progressing through the season.”
Below are a few of my photos from Race Day (Special thanks to IndyCar and IMS)