Young drivers finish strong in star-studded Indy 500 field


He never got another chance to slingshot his way past Japan's Takuma Sato and wound up settling for a record-tying runner-up finish rather than celebrating a record-tying victory. He had one previous victory, a reputation for crashing, and a heartbreaking finish to the 2012 Indianapolis 500 when his fight with Dario Franchitti for the victory ended with Sato crashing on the final lap.

"It's such a privilege to win here whether it was the first attempt or eighth attempt or you had a drama in the past, it doesn't really matter", said Sato.

"It's a fantastic feeling, not only my personal feeling but the whole team - Andretti Autosport - did a fantastic job", Sato said.

In front of reporters, he called the 22-year-old rookie "smart" and paid him perhaps the highest compliment of all.

Jones said it was a great race for the Dale Coyne Racing Team and a great month while sneaking a glance at the scoring monitor, nearly like the third-place finish didn't happen. He was bidding to become the event's fourth four-time victor, joining A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Even before the Dubai-born driver started discussing his third-place finish, the best ever for Dale Coyne Racing, Jones had convinced three-time race victor Helio Castroneves he was ready for the big-time world of IndyCar racing. "When he came up beside me with three laps to go to take the lead from me, I decided this was my moment, to win or lose the race". "Maybe because I have such a big check today", Sato said. "But he's just such a gentleman and such a fair player". Hunter-Reay had led 28 laps and was a strong contender late.

Fernando Alonso (left) and Takuma Sato had very different experiences with their Honda power in the Indianapolis 500.

"Definitely, yes", Alonso said, via ESPN, when asked if he was hungry to return. The Indy 500 is one of the three races that comprise the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which also includes the Monaco GP and 24 hours of Le Mans. "I was thinking at that moment if Zak (Brown, McLaren's team principal) or someone from the team was taking a picture, because I want that picture at home". It was the result of a Lap 53 collision between Jay Howard and pole sitter Scott Dixon that vaulted Dixon's auto into the safety materials on the inside of the track. Dixon's vehicle went airborne and over Castroneves, hit the top of the wall, flipped and came down wheels up.

What happened after that was more than can properly be explained. A red flag stopped action for 19 minutes to fix the SAFER Barrier and catch fencing in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2. Castroneves leads with 245 points while reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud, Sato and Dixon each has 234.

The Andretti family has struggled for decades to win this race, but as a vehicle owner, Michael Andretti certainly knows the way to victory lane. The Andretti camp expanded to six cars for the 500 to add Fernando Alonso, a two-time F1 champion who brought massive European interest to the race. "I can not imagine how it's going to be. But we made the decision earlier in the week to run for speed and performance rather than for durability and distance".

As Motorsport detailed, the crash occurred when Howard's Honda "bounced off the outside wall at Turn 1, and stumbled down the banking, right into the path of Dixon".

Castroneves just avoided being caught up in the incident, driving under Dixon's vehicle as it was spiraled through the air. "I went to the outside, but the tires were shot, and I would have hit the wall".

A few laps after the race restarted, there was another scary-looking accident, involving Conor Daly and Jack Harvey. The penalty dropped him to the end of the line, which was 26th place, but he regained track position with strategy and another caution.

Buddy Lazier was involved in a single-car incident on Lap 122.