AJ Foyt Racing’s JR Hildebrand in the No.1 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing with Tony Stewart Chevrolet started Sunday’s 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge from 22nd place on the grid and came through to finish in 15th. Hildebrand was caught out by the early yellow caused by Stefan Wilson’s pit incident and speaking following the race he said:
Honestly the car felt great for a lot of the race. We got caught out on an early yellow. We were making really good fuel economy so we didn’t pit before the yellow, and then we had to pit [for fuel] under a closed pit so that sent us to the back and that was really unfortunate. Even with a bunch of other cars that had to do that– we ended up cycling to the back of those cars, so we were basically all the way to the back at the beginning of the race.
“At that point we just couldn’t catch a break. “We were actually okay at passing cars on track but just kept getting knocked back on a couple of the pit cycles. From the halfway point forward, all we did was make ground back up. We were able to claw back up to 15th. It was one of those deals, if there were another 100 laps, I think we would have been in the top 10, once we were on the same strategy as everybody else. The car was really good. Bummed for everybody at AJ Foyt Racing and ABC Supply, all the guys on the 1 crew did an awesome job. Unfortunately, when you have one of those deals, and the car feels good and the guys are doing a great job in the pits, it just doesn’t pan out but that’s Indy and we’ll come back for more.”
Dalton Kellett in the No.4 KITS.com/K-Line Insulators Chevrolet finished his first Indianapolis 500 having missed the event last year, the Canadian came from 30th on the grid to finish the Greatest Spectacle In Racing in 23rd place and speaking following the event he commented saying:
“I finished my first Indy 500 because last year I didn’t make it all the way to the finish so that’s definitely goal number one accomplished. “The No. 4 KITS.com/K-Line crew was great in the pits all day. Scott [Harner, strategist] and Mike [Pawlowski, race engineer] did a good job on the stand calling strategy.
The Canadian went on to say:
“I didn’t quite have it in traffic to stay close and get good runs on guys. “The car felt good by itself and in a small pack, but really struggling at the tail end [of the pack] with the big aero wash. Overall, it was definitely a good learning experience but we’ll put all this in the bank and come back stronger next time.”
Kellett concluded by saying:
“It’s been an exciting week. We’re happy to have KITS come on board and if you haven’t yet, remember KITS.com, FREEKITSINDY and get a free pair of sunglasses. They have all kinds and all you have to do is pay shipping.”
Sebastien Bourdais in the No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet started the race from 27th and came home in 26th and speaking following the action he said:
“Not our day today for the ROKiT Chevrolet No. 14. “Obviously, we gave it our best shot starting 27th, but never really made the huge leaps forward. We seemed to be gaining some positions but then with 80 laps to go, we decided to try the fuel strategy and make it on one more stop from there. Unfortunately, we just came up short and had to make a splash and gave up a bunch of positions, but at least the guys tried something. We’ll move onto Detroit and try to make it up there.”
Tony Stewart said he had a blast at the Indianapolis 500 saying:
“I had a blast. “It was such an honor to get the invite from A.J. to come do this. I hated that I missed practice and qualifying, but to be here on race day and sit on the box with him and us talk about what we were seeing strategy-wise in the race, and bouncing around between the 14 car and the 1 car and seeing what was going on and the strategy and trying to figure out how to make track position, and fuel mileage.”
Stewart went on to say:
Fuel mileage races aren’t always the most exciting races here at Indy but to watch how everything shook out, that’s an experience of a lifetime.
“For anybody that has a hero that they personally know to have a day like this where they get to sit in the box beside your all-time hero and enjoy the good things that are happening and listen to him complain about the bad things that are happening, those are experiences that you can’t put a value on. Hopefully, he forgets he asked me this year, he’ll get amnesia and he’ll ask me to do it again next year and I can come back. It was a lot of fun to be back here at Indy for the 500, and to be here with him, it’s the experience of a lifetime.
Stewart went on to say:
That wasn’t easy at the end to see Castroneves set there and deal with lapped traffic and three cars that were right behind him for position,” Stewart said. “It’s hard enough when you’re leading the race and you ‘ve got guys behind you but when you’re catching a group of eight cars in the last two laps, that is, I guarantee you, a very, very stressful situation. I thought he managed the traffic well, didn’t get himself boxed in at the end if the race there. He managed the run he got on the lapped traffic and was able to hold onto the lead. I’ve sat here [in A.J.’s garage] and watched the replays here, and he probably ran a mile down the front straightaway and back celebrating so you can’t ask for a better return after a year when you didn’t have fans here, to have someone like Castroneves win the race, tie the record for most Indy 500 victories in a year when you have fans come back. For INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I don’t think you could ask for a better finish.