Alexander Rossi etched his name in history as the American racer secured victory in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 after making his fuel strategy work for him as others floundered around him.
The Andretti Herta Autosport driver was conserving fuel in the closing stages of the 200-lap race, having last pitted on lap 164, but came to the front as each of his rivals were forced to pit for fuel in the final ten laps.
It was by no means a fluke victory however, with Rossi having spent sometime earlier in the race battling for the race lead, but the final two laps of the race were his slowest of the race as he made the most of the fuel he had left in his car, with his final lap speed being 179.784mph, almost 40mph slower than the chasing pack.
Such was the tightness on fuel, Rossi ran out on the slowing down lap following the chequered flag, and required a tow-in to victory lane so he could receive the winner’s laurels and the traditional pint of milk.
Carlos Munoz had been leading the race until he was forced to pit with just a handful of laps remaining, but despite being considerably fastest than Rossi, the Andretti Autosport driver was forced to settle for second at the Indianapolis 500 for the second time in his career by 4.4975s.
The top three was completed by Josef Newgarden, who was also in contention for the victory throughout the 500-mile race but was also denied by fuel strategy and a late splash and dash trip to the pit lane in his Ed Carpenter Racing entry.
The same could be said for Tony Kanaan, who claimed fourth for Chip Ganassi Racing, with the popular Brazilian once again showing good race speed and leading on a number of occasions.
Charlie Kimball drove a quiet race, also for Chip Ganassi Racing, but the pit stops in the closing laps enabled the American to claim a top five finish, just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s JR Hildebrand, who also spent some time at the front of the field after running an alternative pit strategy to most of the field.
Pole sitter James Hinchcliffe could only finish seventh for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport, but his battle with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the opening phase of the race was thoroughly exciting, with the two drivers passing each other regularly.
Unfortunately for Hunter-Reay, the Andretti Autosport driver was the unfortunate victim of a pit lane incident instigated by team-mate Townsend Bell, which eliminated both out of contention for the race win having been frontrunners up until that moment.
Scott Dixon was never a contender but was able to take an eighth place finish for Chip Ganassi Racing, with Sebastien Bourdais of KVSH Racing and Will Power of Team Penske completing the top ten.
Championship leader Simon Pagenaud saw his three-race victory run come to an end, with the Team Penske driver finishing down in nineteenth after suffering with a misfiring engine in the last quarter of the race that meant the Frenchman was running with reduced power on his #22 machine.
The race was interrupted with caution periods after single-car crashes for Takuma Sato, Mikhail Aleshin (with Conor Daly spinning out in avoidance), Sage Karam and Juan Pablo Montoya, while there was another caution period when Buddy Lazier lost his left-front wheel on exiting the pits. The first caution period of the six was the only one just to clear up debris on the circuit.
Indianapolis 500 Race Result
|1||98||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport||200 Laps|
|2||26||Carlos Munoz||COL||Andretti Autosport||+4.4975|
|3||21||Josef Newgarden||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+4.9304|
|4||10||Tony Kanaan||BRZ||Chip Ganassi Racing||+10.4963|
|5||42||Charlie Kimball||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||+10.5218|
|6||6||JR Hildebrand||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+11.3459|
|7||5||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||+12.7744|
|8||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||+15.1607|
|9||11||Sebastien Bourdais||FRA||KVSH Racing||+21.0613|
|10||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||+21.5171|
|11||3||Helio Castroneves||BRZ||Team Penske||+22.1015|
|12||77||Oriol Servia||ESP||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||+23.8140|
|13||27||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Autosport||+24.9700|
|14||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+28.2494|
|15||8||Max Chilton||GBR||Chip Ganassi Racing||+28.7589|
|16||41||Jack Hawksworth||GBR||AJ Foyt Enterprises||+32.1748|
|17||35||Alex Tagliani||CAN||AJ Foyt Enterprises||+32.1993|
|18||63||Pippa Mann||GBR||Dale Coyne Racing||+1 Lap|
|19||22||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||+1 Lap|
|20||19||Gabby Chaves||COL||Dale Coyne Racing||+1 Lap|
|21||29||Townsend Bell||USA||Andretti Autosport||+1 Lap|
|22||61||Matt Brabham||AUS||KV Racing/Pirtek Team Murray||+1 Lap|
|23||88||Bryan Clauson||USA||Dale Coyne Racing/Jonathan Byrd's Racing||+2 Laps|
|24||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||+2 Laps|
|25||16||Spencer Pigot||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+5 Laps|
|26||14||Takuma Sato||JAP||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Retired|
|27||7||Mikhail Aleshin||RUS||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Retired|
|28||25||Stefan Wilson||GBR||KV Racing Technology||Retired|
|29||18||Conor Daly||USA||Dale Coyne Racing||Retired|
|30||4||Buddy Lazier||USA||Lazier/Burns Racing||Retired|
|31||20||Ed Carpenter||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||Retired|
|32||24||Sage Karam||USA||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Retired|
|33||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||COL||Team Penske||Retired|