There is just one day when IndyCar takes first place in the eyes of motor sports fans in North America, and this is the day of the Indianapolis 500, which in its 2014 version was won by Ryan Hunter-Reay, claiming the title for the first time in his career, finishing ahead of Helio Castronerves.
It was the closest finish to a race since 1992, as Castronerves finished 0.060 seconds behind Hunter-Reay, who became the first American racer to win there since 2006. Castroverves was looking to become the fourth driver to win the race for a fourth time, and seemed broken and stunned when he didn’t come up with the win. According to the Brazilian, a caution with 10 laps to go that caused a red flag so track workers could clean up debris and make repairs to the track wall broke his rhythm and cost him the race.
It was a great fight. I tell you what, I was having a great time. Unfortunately second. It’s good, but second sucks, you know what I mean? At the end of the day there’s stupid and bravery, and I think we were right there on the edge, both of us. I’m glad we both come out in a good way. I’m sad it did not come out the way I wanted.
It was a great day for Andretti Motorsport with three in the top 4; Marco Andretti finished third and Carlos Munoz was fourth, while the winner also came from their stable. Another Andretti racer, Kur Busch, finished sixth in his first race of the day, later taking part of the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. His attempt to complete the 1100 mile double ended with his car engine blowing up late in the NASCAR race. Three other drivers have made the attempt, but only Tony Stewart in 2001 has pulled it off. Stewart was sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Marco Andretti seemed to have a shot at the win until the final restart, but he couldn’t catch up with Hunter-Reay and Castronerves, who swapped leading positions four times in the final five laps. Hunter-Reay was passed for the lead a year ago with three laps remaining. He actually had firm control of the race this time until the red flag was brought out for Townsend Bell’s crash. He felt like it wasn’t going to be his day once again, but made a daring move to get by Castronerves on the final stretch, turning out to be the winning one.
“I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure. I’ve watched this race since I was sitting in diapers on the floor in front of the TV. My son did it today. He watched me here. I’m thrilled. This is American history, this race, this is American tradition. It went green the whole way and I love that. Winning it under green like that with just a fantastic finish — I hope the fans loved it because I was on the edge of my seat.