The 102nd edition of Indianapolis 500 was run under perfect blue sky, and with 33 hungry racing drivers.
Eleven rows of three cars each had a nice start.
Ed Carpenter led the race from Pole Position, while his Team Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power were second and third.
Tony Kanaan got a good start and was up to sixth position after ten laps, having started from tenth.
James Davidson was driving slowly, and since he was in the middle of the field, the rest of the cars had to try going past him. His laptimes fell with five seconds, and were under 200 mph on the average speed.
After 30 laps people started to pit.
Spencer Pigot had a really good fuel saving and he stayed on the track longer than everybody else. Thus he overtook the lead in a couple of laps before going to the pits.
Kanaan gained the most advantage in the pitstop round, where he went up to second place after Carpenter, while Josef Newgarden was up to third.
James Davidson was the first one to trigger a yellow flag. He lay in the middle of the ideal racing line and drove much slower than the others. It surprised Takuma Sato, who came with full speed and drove right into the rear end of his car. Luckily, both cars remained on the ground, but they had to retire on the spot. Which was bitter for Sato, who won last year’s Indy 500.
Everyone used the chance to pit for the second time, but there was no change in top 3, which still consisted of Carpenter, Kanaan, and Newgarden.
Just a few laps after the race went green, Ed Jones hit the concrete wall. He came a little too far off the track and lost the rear end of the car.
When the race got restarted, Tony Kanaan took the lead, but Carpenter quickly reclaimed it.
Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais had a moment where they brushed each other’s car. Fortunately both managed to stay on the track.
It wasn’t as fortunate for Danica Patrick, several laps later. She lost the rear end of the car in Turn 2, exactly the same place as Ed Jones did earlier, and hit the wall. Luckily, it was the SAFER Barrier that took the most of the impact.
When the race was restarted, Tony Kanaan went in front again, while Carpenter fell back to second place ahead of Will Power.
Josef Newgarden was the only person in top 5 who had pitted for the third time. That was why he was out of sync with the rest of the field, which could play in his favour or against him later in the race. He fell back to 20th, but was full of fuel.
Tony Kanaan had to pit twice in a lap, when he got a leak puncture on his new set of tires.
Zach Veach had a dramatic moment during his pitstop. When the refueller pulled the fuel hose, normally another mechanic would spray water on the car to avoid fire. For some reasons, he didn’t spray the car and thus it lit in flame. Luckily, it got blown by the wind when Veach drove away.
Out in front, Will Power now overtook the lead, ahead of Ed Carpenter and Simon Pagenaud.
Kyle Kaiser retired after 115 laps due technical problems.
Power had absolutely no intention to save fuel, as he distanced himself from the competitors with half a second per lap. He should, however, pit two more times at least, like the majority of the field. 70 laps before finish, he pitted for a full tank of fuel and four new tires.
Graham Rahal, Robert Wickens, and Carlos Munoz were in a different fuel strategy and could drive longer than even Newgarden. This could be interesting towards the end of the race.
After 140 laps, Sebastien Bourdais hit the wall in Turn 3. He was too close behind Alexander Rossi, where he was hit by some turbulence and about to lose control of the car. Bourdais tried to regain control but ended up losing the rear end, and it was the end of his race.
Stefan Wilson parked his car too far from his pit, that the fuel hose couldn’t reach it. It cost him an awful lot of time – but to his luck it happened under a Safety Car period.
While Graham Rahal managed to pit just before there was a yellow flag on the track, Carlos Muños did not. Hence he lost a lot of positions. But he still had a fuel surplus compared to the majority of the field.
Tony Kanaan used the chance to refuel. He didn’t lose any places because of that and now would be able to drive full speed.
The race got restarted with Will Power in the lead, ahead of Ed Carpenter and Simon Pagenaud. Helio Castroneves was breathing down Pagenaud’s neck, but he couldn’t get past before there was another yellow flag.
It was Castroneves himself who hit the wall, on the way out of Turn 4. He lost the rear of the car and hit the wall backwards. So his chance of taking a fourth Indy 500 victory went up in smoke.
Alexander Rossi did a fantastic overtaking for the second time at the restart. He worked his way up to third place by driving past Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud.
But it only last for one lap before another incident. Sage Karam lost control of his car in Turn 4 and slid sideways to the wall. It ripped his rear wheel off and it jumped over the track – luckily without hitting anyone.
Scott Dixon was the first man to take the last pitstop, with 39 laps left. Which meant he should really save fuel or hope for more yellow flags periods.
Alexander Rossi attempted to take the second place at the restart, but Ed Carpenter refused to relent.
Tony Kanaan was also on a good run, up to ninth place.
Will Power took his last stop with 29 laps left, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan a lap after.
While the majority of the field drove their fastest laps, Jack Harvey and Scott Dixon had to hold back and save fuel, in order to finish the race without pitting again. Thus their chances were minimal, with Will Power storming behind them.
With 14 laps left, Dixon was overtaken by Power, and after that the Australian started chasing Oriol Servia, Stefan Wilson, and Jack Harvey.
11 laps before chequered flag, Tony Kanaan’s race ended when he lost control of his car on the way out of Turn 2.
It made everything extremely exciting for Servia, Wilson, and Harvey. The three were close to their fuel limit to be able to finish the race, but they would surely try.
Wilson overtook the lead right after the restart, while Power should use a whole lap to get past Servia, who fell back to third.
With three laps left, Wilson and Harvey had to pit, and Power took over the lead. Servia also had to pit, and it elevated Ed Carpenter and Scott Dixon to second and third places respectively.
Will Power held the lead all the way to the end and finished first ahead of Carpenter, Dixon, Rossi, and Hunter-Reay. It was his first Indy 500 victory, and the 17th victory overall with Team Penske.
The championship leader Josef Newgarden finished in the eighth place and lost the lead in Verizon IndyCar Series. Today’s winner Will Power is now leading the championship, ahead of Alexander Rossi and Newgarden. Scott Dixon goes up to fourth place.
The next round will already be run next weekend, where it will be a double round on the streets of Detroit.