California native Alexander Rossi drove to a shock win in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday, leading a 1-2 finish for Honda and Andretti Autosport. The highest finishing Chevrolet driver in ‘The Greatest Spectacle In Racing’ was Josef Newgarden, who turned up third after starting from the front row and running a consistently strong race.
Car co-owner Bryan Herta made the call to have Rossi start conserving fuel when front-runners such as Carlos Munoz and James Hinchcliffe were forced to pit for gas on Lap 197. The Verizon IndyCar series rookie conserved fuel over the remaining 36 laps to nurse his NAPA-Honda home, with the car sputtering out on the exit of Turn 4 before coasting across the finish line for the win.
“This is the greatest day of my life,” Rossi told IndyCar post-race. “I have no idea how we pulled that off.”
“I didn’t know (if I could make it to the finish). … I’ll cherish the fact that at one point we were (in 29th) and that we rolled the dice and we came through and we made it happen. It’s phenomenal. I’m at a loss for words but it will change my life, for sure.”
“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” added Michael Andretti. “They did a great job with their strategy. To get a 1-2 finish in the 100th Running of the Indy 500 (is) pretty good. We’re just so happy. It’s so awesome.”
Newgarden looked poised to stand in the winner’s circle all day, but like Munoz and Hinchcliffe, was forced to pit for fuel late in the race. The Ed Carpenter Racing driver was visibly disappointed after exiting his car, but was glad IndyCar delivered an entertaining race.
“It sucks not winning this thing, but at least people had an amazing show to watch for the 100th running,” the Tennesee native said. “That’s all we can really ask.”
Newgarden finished third behind Munoz, while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball were fourth and fifth, respectively. Defending Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya crashed out from the race after losing control of his No. 2 Chevy on the exit of Turn 2.
The Verizon IndyCar Series heads to Detroit next for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix double header. Click here for full results from the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.