The Andretti Autosport team won the Indianapolis 500 with rookie Alexander Rossi – but only after two of its other drivers took themselves out of contention.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell were running first and second when they pitted just past the halfway point.
As they were leaving the pits, Bell tried to pass Hunter-Reay on the outside. But Bell had another car on his outside, too. And as all three cars squeezed to get out, Bell ran into Hunter-Reay.
That knocked both of them into the pit wall. Bell finished 21st and Hunter-Reay was 24th. Before the wreck, Hunter-Reay led a race-high 52 laps.
Until then Bell also ran well, especially considering that the Indy 500 is the only IndyCar race of the year for the veteran driver from San Luis Obispo. He qualified fourth and led 12 laps.
“We thought they were going to be the guys to beat in the end,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “Unfortunately they had their problem in the pits there, which I could not believe.”
Castroneves still waiting
Helio Castroneves was trying to become only the fourth driver in history to win the Indy 500 four times but came up short.
Castroneves led 24 laps but the Penske Racing driver finished 11th after needing late repairs for a damaged left rear-wheel guard.
“I’m very disappointed in the way we ended up” even though “I don’t think we were ever in a position to fight for the lead,” Castroneves said. “It’s just not reflective of the car that we had.”
The three four-time winners are A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. No driver has won the Indy 500 five times.
Tony Kanaan leads a pack of drivers through a turn late during the 100th Indy 500.(Jamie Squire / Getty Images)
Alexander Rossi’s pit crew services his car during a pit stop for the 100th Indy 500 on Sunday.(Rob Baker / Associated Press)
Pole-sitter James Hinchcliffe (5) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (28) battle for the lead early in the Indy 500 race on Sunday.(Jamie Squire / Getty Images)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads a pack of cars through a turn during the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Robert Laberge / Getty Images)
Pole-sitter James Hinchcliffe leads the field into the first turn on the start of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.(R. Brent Smith / Associated Press)
Lady Gaga and Mario Andretti do a double fist-bump before they take a lap in the two-seater IndyCar during pre-race ceremonies for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.(Kerry Keating / The Indianapolis Star via AP)
Car owner David Letterman applauds during driver introductions before the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)
Four F-18E fighter jets perform a flyover before the start of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)
A digitally converted black-and-white image features the one-yard wide strip of brick on the front stretch at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the morning of the Indy 500.(Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images)
Celebrities arrive on the red carpet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the 100th running of the Indy 500.(Jamie Squire / Getty Images)
Montoya out early
Defending Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya was done early when he spun and crashed into the wall on lap 64 following a restart.
“People do a lot of dumb things on a restart and we were just being careful, trying to make up some ground,” Montoya said.
“I went into [Turn] 2 and got a big push and I got out of the gas and it just came around” and spun, he said. “Just a tough day.”