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Ryan Hunter-Reay Indy 500

May 26, 2014 by  

Ryan Hunter-Reay Indy 500, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves went at it with swords drawn, a thrilling, heart-stopping five-lap duel to the checkered flag in the 98th Indianapolis 500. Hunter-Reay’s margin of victory was less than a car length at 220 mph, six-hundredths of a second, for the second-closest margin of victory in race history.

It further validated Hunter-Reay’s status as the top American driver of this IndyCar reconstruction era and elevated his career to superstar status. The 33-year-old Floridian was the Verizon IndyCar Series champion in 2012, but you’ve got to have your face on the Borg-Warner Trophy to climb all the way to the top. Hunter-Reay made it with a masterful drive from the 19th starting position, passing and holding off Castroneves in the process.

Castroneves did his part providing the drama at the end. He was going for his fourth Indy 500 victory and an opportunity to be a full-fledged legend. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears are the only three drivers with four.

Hunter-Reay and Castroneves passed each other twice following a restart on lap 196. Turn 4 was where Hunter-Reay took the lead by going to the outside of Castroneves as they came to the white flag and didn’t give it up for five corners.

“I tried man, trust me,” Castroneves said. “I really tried. You can’t question destiny. Today I did everything; my team did everything we possibly could have done to win this race. So close to win four. It’s frustrating to be so close to something that only a few guys did.

“Great race. Second place is good, but second sucks. Congrats to Andretti Autosports. [Ryan Hunter-Reay] did everything he could. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our day. It was great to see an American driver winning.”

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