Ryan Hunter-Reay fends off Castroneves to win 2014 Indianapolis 500
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The first three-quarters of the race went off without a caution flag, until Charlie Kimball spun and brushed the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 149. He was able to get restarted, but left the race.
On Lap 167, Scott Dixon lost control heading into Turn 4, smashing into the outside wall. At some point behind Dixon's incident, Josef Newgarden's car was struck the back by Martin Plowman and had to be towed to the garage.
Eight laps later, Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe crashed in Turn 1. Townsend Bell had started to pass Carpenter on the outside, making slight contact before Carpenter and Hinchcliffe came together. Hinchcliffe had been trying to pass Carpenter to the low side.
"I was the last guy on the scene, so I probably take the blame," Hinchcliffe said after the crash.
"If he didn't have a concussion, I'd punch him in the face," Carpenter said.
Hinchcliffe had recently been cleared to drive in the race after suffering a concussion during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10.
Bell crashed in Turn 2 with just ten laps to go, prompting race officials to show a red flag so safety crews could clean up the track and fix the SAFER barrier where Bell had made contact.
A lap after Hunter-Reay led the field on the restart from the red flag, Castroneves made an inside pass in Turn 1 to grab the lead with five laps to go. On the next lap, Hunter-Reay dove to the inside to pass Castroneves in Turn 3, before the three-time champion returned the favor, going to the outside in Turn 1. Hunter-Reay grabbed the lead for good, edging in front of Castroneves under the white flag at the start-finish line, then held Castroneves off for the last 2.5 miles to win his first Indianapolis 500 by .06 seconds, pumping his fist in the air as he drove into Turn 1.
"It's a dream come true. I can't even believe it," Hunter-Reay said. "A dream has come true today. I'm a proud American boy, that's for sure."
Hunter-Reay is the first American driver to win the Indianapolis 500 since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006.
Castroneves was trying to make history as just the fourth driver to win four Indianapolis 500 races.
"It's a shame, I want to give this to Roger (team owner Penske) so bad," Castroneves said. "It was a great fight. I tell you what guys. It was a great TV...I was having a great time."
Kurt Busch was sixth in his first race of the day. He was expected to immediately fly to North Carolina for Sunday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Defending champion Tony Kanaan's bid for back-to-back wins ended early. After a 43-second pit stop on Lap 66, Kanaan returned to the pits for much longer a few laps later. Reports said Kanaan's car ran out of fuel, then he stripped his gears trying to get restarted.
We heard from Jim Nabors, who sang "Back Home Again in Indiana" for the final time. He joined Mary Hulman-George to tell drivers to start their engines.
"Drivers to your cars!"
Just heard from LeAnn Rimes singing the National Anthem.
That wraps up WTHR's marathon morning coverage of the 2014 Indy 500. Stick with us. We'll be updating this page throughout the race!
Nicole Misencik interviewed Jim Nabors during the last hour on WTHR. She asked him who he'd like to see sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" after he retires.
"The only thing I can think of is, I'd rather the fans sing it. They should just sing it with all their heart and that would make it good," he said.
Jim says he never rehearses!
Jim stayed away from winner predictions. "I just pray for a safe race and I love all the kids. They're all kids to me, the drivers."
His favorite memory?
"I think, yes, the first time I sang. After I sang and had the reception I got, I became a Hoosier immediately! It's a wonderful place. I wouldn't mind living here."
Of course, we wouldn't mind having him!
His final message to fans?
"Send my best love to everybody. They've been so nice to me all these years."
Gov. Pence greets Jim Nabors, who's singing Back Home Again in Indiana for the final time at today's Indy 500. Yes, we might cry!
TRAFFIC ALERT: Lines forming at I-465 exits to 38th St & Crawfordsville Rd. Expect delays.9:46 am
Fun facts from American Dairy Association Indiana:
Talking to Jack Hawksworth now on #WTHR. He says last two weeks have felt longer than expected. "That was a bit of a surprise."
Celeb buses are on the way. Just interviewed Ice-T and Coco!
Crash on I-465 SB just north of 46th St.
A great Indy 500 tradition!
Fans take a photo opportunity in the infield!
TRAFFIC ALERT: Infield, North 40, main 16th St. lot south of @IMS full; Coke lot also full.
Race car driver Townsend Bell tells us, "Ready or not Indianapolis makes you ready."
James Hinchcliffe says winning the Indy 500 means "immortality. Every time your name gets mentioned, you're the Indy 500 winner. He says winners are guaranteed a place in history. Hard to dispute that! Good luck @Hinchtown!
Chuck Lofton is talking to IMS President Doug Boles. Talking about rookie Sage Karam. "I don't know that you can find one story that's better than the others."
"Kurt Busch has been wonderful to have here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway...and he's fast!"
Just found reporter Mary Milz lounging on a hammock in Glamptown!
Just heard from Chuck Lofton and Angela Buchman. We're expecting a high of 82 today at the track. Don't let the clouds fool you...the sun will be out!! Bring that sunscreen!
Rich Van Wyk is talking to Indiana State Police about a special shuttle bus that fans probably want to avoid! Actually, they say they love working the Indy 500. Up to 300,000 fans and they call it a good crowd.
Nicole Misencik is monitoring fan tweets this morning. If you want to see your tweet on the air, use #trackteam13 and watch the bottom of your screen!