Andretti Autosport’s Stefan Wilson was delighted at the end of the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday as he led his first laps of the most famous motor race on the planet.
Wilson, driving the No.25 Driven2SaveLives Honda started the race from 23rd place and finished the event in 15th place and speaking following the event, the Sheffield native said:
It was so close – a helluva strategy call by the team. The No. 25 Driven2SaveLives team did a great job all day. With that strategy call we knew we were gambling – we knew we were rolling the dice. We were just hoping for another yellow flag at the end. I was leading, and I knew we were strong enough and wouldn’t be able to be passed but the yellow just didn’t come. While I was out there leading, I was just out there thinking if it goes yellow now my dreams are made. It didn’t happen, but we led our first laps, we learned a helluva lot this month and it was mad fun, so I’m leaving here with a smile on my face and my head held high.
Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda charged through the field from 32nd on the grid to finish the race in fourth place just behind Scott Dixon. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner heads to Detroit this weekend just two points behind series leader Will Power.
Speaking following the race he said:
I feel like we did what we could, and we maximized what we had. The NAPA Know How Andretti Honda team did everything right. I don’t look back on anything and wish we’d done anything different. Despite, it was a good day from a championship perspective. We didn’t have enough to win, but congrats to Will [Power].”
Ryan Hunter Reay finished the race in fifth place just behind Rossi and speaking following the event the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner commented by saying:
“It was a good race all day. When we were all mixed up in traffic, the 28 car was really strong – but once it started stringing out, we just didn’t have it. We really fought hard, but we just didn’t have the speed in the end. But the bigger problem was the lapped traffic. We really had a good race car until we had to deal with guys that were doing 200 mph out there, like Jay Howard. Then [Claman De Melo] came out right at the end in the mix of the top five – I don’t know what teams were thinking. The DHL boys did a great job today, just a little bit too short at the end. But, congrats to Will Power, he definitely has a well-rounded career now.”
Carlos Munoz led four laps of the race and finished the event in seventh place, the highest placed Indy only entrant having started the race from 21st place. The Colombian’s start in Sunday’s race marked Andretti Autosport’s 1,000th Verizon IndyCar Series start and speaking following the race he said:
“It’s another top 10 for my career, I think I only have one outside the top 10 because of a penalty. I think what hurt me was the yellows towards the end. We had a really good strategy going on, same as Rahal, and we were in a really good place. I think I chickened out a little bit on the restarts because I wasn’t up to speed. That hurt me a little bit on the restarts. I was a little bit cautious, so some people overtook me but at the end of the day I think I gained back all the positions on track. It’s a top seven so… great!”
Speaking following the race in which he finished where he started in 12th place, Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda commented by saying:
“We seemed to be there in the beginning and then just lost something at the end. We were trying to figure out what it was, but I just lost pace in the end. We were sort of where we needed to be, not really to win the race but right up in the thick of things and we just slipped down. We think we know what it was, but knowing that now makes us a day late and a dollar short. Big thanks to my U.S. Concrete guys for the hard work all month long.”
Zach Veach in the No.26 Relay Honda had a a problem with his fueling system resulting in a fire in the No.26 pit box and speaking after finishing the race in 23rd place he said:
“It was a long day in general for us to end up where we did – two pit fires and the balance of the car wasn’t where we would’ve liked it to be, so we had to work on it the entire time. We finally got it close the last couple stops but, just my mistake. I took us in a direction on a setup that I thought was going to be good, but I think that’s what hurt us come race day. Overall though, I’m just really grateful to have my first ‘500’ with the team under my belt and can’t thank my teammates and my Relay crew enough for all the hard work.