“Indy 500-Checkered Flag to Greatest Spectacle in Sport”
It was fast and it was furious.
It was filled with emotion and it was excellent.
It was speed and it was skill.
It was a display of bravado, courage and strategy.
Simon Pagenaud from France outdueled former champion Alexander Rossi over the final 15-laps to win the Indianapolis 500.
They passed each other 5-times in the final moments coming off a red flag stop for a 5-car wreck. The daring lead changes, at 220-miles an hour left your heart in your throat, gasping for air, knowing a slight twitch, a change in the air stream, either car touching, could lead to catastrophe.
The Frenchman, with a final burst of horsepower, held off and outran the Italian to win the Borg Warner Trophy.
In the history of the 103-years of this race, seldom have we seen something end so close, the leader and the follower separated by only 2/10ths of a second at the finish line.
It was an odd day, where we had two races, what happened at the end, but also what happened in the pits. Never in recent times have we seen so many incidents along pit row.
Rossi himself hurt by a (:09) pit stop, slowed by a tire change. Then the near catastrophic pit stop (:23) long when the refueling mechanism didn’t work.
Rossi drove the wheels off his car to race from 5th to 1st and grab the lead with 3-laps to go. Only to see Pagenaud strip-stream by him with two laps left. Then the winner weaved up and down the track, blocking air flow, not letting the 2nd place guy draft him, and pulling away for the win.
A clean race for most of the day, became messy late. Sebastian Bourdais tried to block Graham Rahal low on a pass, triggering a 5-car wreck.
An enraged Rahal said post-race, someone would get killed with the tactics Bourdais. used.
Jordan King, a young driver, skidded into the pits, hitting a crew member.
Will Power, last year’s champion, nicked his fuel man, pulling into his pit box.
Kyle Kaiser, the rookie from California, hit a wall coming out of the pits.
Colton Herta, the 19-year old phenom, starting in the second row, blew a gear box early ending his day.
There was anger from Rossi over lapped cars showing no respect to the lead pack, by trying to race with them, rather than letting them pass, clogging up traffic, slowing the chase down.
But it was the spectacular finish is all anyone will talk about, that and the breath-taking passing over the final 15-laps.
The greatest finish back in the day might have been Danny Sullivan’s spin-and-win victory. This might top everything we have ever seen.
Even the retired stars, Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, who’ve experienced great days on the track, were left speechless by what they saw at the end of the race, as they served as TV analysts.
The Greatest Spectacle in Sports, the Brickyard, did not let us down thanks to the Pagenaud-Rossi duel.
They sang ‘Back Home in Indiana’ right before the race, part of the tradition of the sport. They drank the milk in Victory Lane. They kissed the bricks at the finish line.
The Indy 500 gave us a race never to forget.