Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) – Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis for the second time in his career on Sunday when he passed Will Power, his Team Penske teammate, in the closing laps and then beat Power to the finish line by just 0.1 seconds.
Montoya, the driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet for Penske, overcame adversity in this prestigious 500-mile race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he had fallen all the way back to 30th in the 33-car field due to rear wing damage he sustained on his car when he had made contact with Simona de Silvestro during a caution in the opening laps. The fender on his left rear had been torn as well.
On lap 41, Montoya had a pit-road mistake when he overshot his pit stall and ran over his team’s air hose. He was not penalized for his incident on pit road but did receive a warning from race officials.
Power and Scott Dixon, the pole sitter, had swapped the lead several times following the last restart with 15 laps remaining. Montoya charged to the front, overtaking Power with just four laps to go.
Montoya, who started on the outside of row 5, led just nine of 200 laps. When he won the Indy 500 for the first time in 2000, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing then, he ran in front for a total of 167 laps. It was the first time he had competed in this race.
He became the 19th driver to win the Indy 500 multiple times.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Montoya said in Winner’s Circle. “This is bigger than the other one. This is what IndyCar and racing is all about. Awesome racing all the way down to the wire.”
Montoya, a 39-year-old Colombian, is now 2-for-3 in the Indy 500. Following his victory in this race 15 years ago, he competed in Formula One from 2001-06 and then NASCAR, primarily the Sprint Cup Series, from 2007-13 before he returned to IndyCar competition with Penske in 2014. He started 10th and finished fifth in last year’s event at Indy.
Power, the defending IndyCar Series champion, finished second after starting in the same position. It was his best finish in this race in eight attempts.
“Maybe I was bit too nice to (Montoya) in (turn) 1 and lifted, and after that, my car, obviously being out in front, got a lot of push when I was behind. I got really close to him out of 2, and then I just backed off and had to lift. That was the race. But that was some serious racing there and a lot of fun.”
Power had won the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 9 and was seeking a two-race sweep at Indy this month.
Charlie Kimball from Chip Ganassi Racing placed third, while his teammate, Dixon, wound up fourth after leading the most laps with 84. Graham Rahal crossed the line fifth in his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car.
Finishing sixth through 10th were: Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), Helio Castroneves (Team Penske), J.R. Hildebrand (CFH Racing), Josef Newgarden (CFH) and Simon Pagenaud (Penske).
Montoya gave Roger Penske his record-extending 16th Indy 500 victory. It had been six years since a Penske driver last won this race. Castroneves claimed his third Indy 500 victory after starting on the pole in 2009.
All four of Penske’s drivers in this race finished in the top-10.
“It’s a great day for Team Penske,” Roger Penske said. “I knew we had two up there, but the worry was Dixon and the 83 (Charlie Kimball). At the end of the day, they played fair. Good passing and we won the race.”
It was the second IndyCar victory for Montoya this season as well as the 14th of his career in major American open-wheel racing. He won the March 29 season- opener in St. Petersburg, Florida and has led in the IndyCar championship point standings since then. Montoya currently holds a 25-point lead over Power and a 61-point advantage over Dixon.
This race featured 37 lead changes among 10 drivers as well as six cautions for 37 laps. Five of those cautions were for accidents, including a wreck involving three drivers on the opening lap. Sage Karam crashed into the wall, which ended his event, when Takuma Sato was attempting to pass him for position from the outside in turn 1. Before the race started, during the pace laps, Conor Daly experienced a mechanical problem, as a fire erupted from the back of his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car. Karam and Daly did not complete any laps, finishing 32nd and 33rd, respectively.
Ganassi driver Tony Kanaan crashed on lap 152, just after a round of green- flag pit stops, when he lost control and backed it hard into wall between turns 3 and four. Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 winner, had led a total of 30 laps and was a strong contender to win this race until his incident.
“I got really loose and lost it,” said Kanaan, who finished 26th. “We were strong all day, and I was going for it. I would rather get out of the race like this trying than just sitting back there. For me, it’s win or nothing here. Second or third doesn’t matter.”
On lap 176, a three-car accident occurred in the turn 4 area. Jack Hawksworth and Sebastian Saavedra made contact and spun into the wall. While Saavedra slid down the track, rookie Stefano Coletti slammed into him.
Hawksworth and Coletti walked away from the accident unscathed, but Saavedra suffered a contusion to his right foot. Safety workers had to extricate Saavedra from his heavily damaged car and then carry him to the ambulance, which transported him to the track’s infield medical care center.
There had been safety concerns surrounding this year’s Indy 500 after several spectacular crashes had happened at this historic 2.5-mile oval within the past week and a half.
James Hinchcliffe was seriously injured in practice this past Monday when his car slammed right side into the SAFER barrier in turn 3. Hinchcliffe underwent emergency surgery to repair an artery in his upper left thigh after a piece of the front suspension from his car pierced him in the thigh and pelvic area. He remains hospitalized at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
Ryan Briscoe substituted for Hinchcliffe in the No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, starting on the inside of the last row and finishing 12th.
Prior to Hinchcliffe’s wreck, Castroneves, Newgarden and Ed Carpenter were each involved in separate wrecks, in which their cars went airborne after running at speeds of more than 220 mph. Carpenter’s accident last Sunday, just prior to qualifying, prompted IndyCar officials to make modifications to the cars to lower the speeds.
On lap 113, Carpenter, who had started on the pole for the previous two Indy 500s, and Oriol Servia crashed into the wall in turn 1 when they bumped into each other.