It’s a couple hours after the 500 and I’m still not sure how I’m feeling about Alexander Rossi winning. Before the race I said I didn’t want Montoya, Hunter-Reay or Rossi to win. A friend asked why Rossi. He is only in IndyCar because he lost his Formula One ride. He was not happy with the move and that is why I’m not happy he won. He doesn’t appear to love IndyCar and love the Indy 500 so why should he win. That is why I don’t care for Montoya. He won the 500 and left for NASCAR, only to return after things went bad at NASCAR. Does he really appreciate that IndyCar is the superior form of racing? Might not pay the same but it is so much better. However, while watching Rossi before he emerged from the car and seeing his emotion over winning I think that perhaps he does get it. If he sticks around in IndyCar I may become a fan but if he leaves first chance he gets I will not be happy. The Indy 500 is an incredible race with a fascinating history. I want all the winners to truly appreciate what winning the 500 means. Carlos Munoz gets it. Josef Newgarden gets it. Both were crushed at coming so close to winning and falling short. Helio Castroneves gets it, he has tasted the milk three times. He is desperate to join the four time winner club. James Hinchcliffe gets it. He nearly lost his life at the Speedway yet returns a year later and puts his car on the pole. The demons he had to overcome to get back in the car, at Indy and go faster than everyone, James showed amazing determination. Hopefully today made Rossi a lifetime IndyCar driver. I want our 500 winners to continue in IndyCar.
But long before Alexander Rossi took the checkered flag we had 500 miles of an entertaining race. Let’s look at some of that.
Carlos Munoz- It’s hard to be a fan of Carlos. He does not receive enough attention so as fans we don’t get a chance to know him. When he does it’s hard to understand him. Watching him sit in his car after the race and hearing the emotion during his post race interview will bump him up a notch. Carlos has had incredible finishes at the 500. It’s just a matter of time before he gets his win. I hope Andretti keeps him around.
Josef Newgarden- He was clearly upset at the end too. Has to be so hard to know you have a car that can win but then not. I can’t even imagine what his career would like like if he was with one of the bigger teams. That said, I hope he stays with Ed Carpenters team.
Tony Kanaan- Tony also looked like he had a good chance to win. He was all smiles in the interview saying he had a blast racing.
Charlie Kimball- we didn’t hear much about Charlie during the race but he apparently kept up with the leaders and had a good clean race. He has the talent but can’t quite seem to get that extra boost he needs to have more wins. A top five at Indy is a good finish.
James Hinchcliffe- He won the pole and was a contender all day. The twin checkers just needed to wave at the right time and this could have been his race but this is Indy and anything can happen. Hinch finished seventh, he deserved better.
Stefan Wilson- Stefan had an electrical problem in the car and couldn’t get it out of third gear as I understand it. It ended his day. I was so disappointed because Stefan has gone above and beyond to interact with fans and support his sponsors. He is the driver we want in IndyCar. He (and others like him) is how we grow the sport. I hope he gets more opportunities to drive. Stefan is a family favorite for sure.
AJ Foyt Racing- They struggled through most of the race. Sato was carving his way up but made contact with the wall. Tagliani led the race before finishing 17th. Not bad considering he started last. Didn’t hear much about Hawksworth. He finished 16th. All in all not the best day for AJ Foyt racing.
Graham Rahal- since Graham often doesn’t qualify well and then gets a good finish I expected him to do better. He finished 14th.
Others to Mention
Townsend Bell- He also looked like he had a good chance to win. A problem in the pits ended that chance. He just didn’t have room to maneuver when exiting the pits. He attempted to get in the fast lane but made contact with a car and that sent him into Ryan Hunter-Reay and both had the race win slip from their fingers. Was it Townsend’s fault? I’m not sure about that yet but when you get 25+ cars in pit lane you have to expect problems.
Pippa Mann- Only woman in the field. She finished 18th, the first car one lap down. At one point she was in the top ten and I thought she might have a top 15 finish. Not a bad race for her.
Oriol Servia- He always impresses. I know he is getting older but why he isn’t in a full time seat I will never understand. Oriol finished 12th.
Marco Andretti- I really expected to see more of Marco during the race but he seemed to just run mid pack. Another disappointing day for Marco.
Helio Castroneves- will he ever get the fourth win? As the years go by it’s not looking good. He had a chance but contact with JR Hildebrand ended that chance.
Well this is where I wrap it up. There is still more to say but that will be another day. All in all it was a great race with beautiful weather. It was the kind of race that makes new fans. Hopefully the Indianapolis 500 remains on people’s radar for a long time and we continue to celebrate milestones at the Speedway for centuries to come. In the short term I hope the Detroit race draws some extra attention coming of the heels of the 500. So excited for the double header this weekend.