It was a tough day for one of IndyCar's top teams, Chip Ganassi Racing.
Of the five Ganassi drivers in the Indianapolis 500, 19-year-old rookie Sage Karam — driving a car in alliance with the Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing team — had the best finish, ninth.
Ryan Briscoe was 18th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Defending Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, who joined Ganassi this season, finished 26th after mechanical problems left him on pit road for lengthy repairs.
"Our day was pretty much over before it started," Kanaan said.
Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner, finished 29th after he spun and crashed in Turn 4. Dixon was running fourth at the time.
"I tried to catch" the car before it crashed "and there was no catching it," he said.
And Charlie Kimball also spun out, on Lap 148, which brought out the first caution period of the race. He finished 31st.
Juan Pablo Montoya finished fifth in his first Indy 500 since 2000, when he won the race in his first attempt.
After that victory, Montoya migrated to the Formula One series and then the NASCAR Sprint Cup series for seven years. He returned to the Verizon IndyCar Series this season with Team Penske.
Montoya appeared to have a fuel advantage for much of the race — he led 16 laps by staying on the track while other leaders pitted for fuel — but then he was penalized for speeding on pit road and dropped to 14th.
Montoya rebounded and was trying to catch eventual winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and second-place Helio Castroneves.
"It was cool to watch them swap the lead back and forth in the final laps," Montoya said. "I had a good seat for it.
"I don't think we had anything for Hunter-Reay or Helio," Montoya said, but he added, "It was good to be back in Indy."
Hildebrand's uneven day
J.R. Hildebrand finished 10th after an up-and-down Indy 500.
The Sausalito, Calif., native was hoping to redeem himself after his costly mistake in 2011, when he nearly won the Indy 500 but crashed on the final lap while leading.
Hildebrand started ninth and was running in the top 10 for much of the first half of Sunday's race. But his car developed a tire problem that forced him to pit and dropped him to 21st.
"I had to pit or I was going to crash," he said.
Hildebrand eventually climbed back into the top 10. "Frankly, I'm disappointed with 10th," he said. "We had a stronger car."
Indy's grim anniversary
This weekend marked the 50th anniversary of one of the Indy 500's darkest moments.
Drivers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald of El Monte were killed in a horrific fiery accident on the second lap of the race in 1964.
As chronicled in a new book, "Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500," by Art Garner, the race eventually resumed and A.J. Foyt earned the second of his four Indy 500 victories.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times