Indy 500 Live: Checkered Flag

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(IndyCar.com is providing “Indy 500 Live” updates from today’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Follow along here throughout the day.)

INDIANAPOLIS – The 101st Indianapolis 500 has been completed, as Andretti Autosport's Takuma Sato scored the first win by an Asian-born driver in the famed race.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon (No. 9 Camping World Honda) led the field to the green flag, having scored his third career Indy 500 pole on May 21. After starting from the inside of Row 3, teammate Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Honda) took and then traded the lead with the Kiwi over the course of the opening laps. It marked Kanaan’s 13th time leading the Indianapolis 500, tying him with A.J. Foyt for most all-time. After leading four laps, Kanaan notched his 4,000th career Indy car lap led.

Ed Carpenter (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) took the lead when Kanaan made his first pit stop on Lap 28.

After starting fifth in his maiden Indy car race, Formula One double world champion Fernando Alonso only needed 37 laps to take the lead in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda.

The first caution of the day came out on Lap 52 when Dixon and Jay Howard (No. 77 Lucas Oil/Team One Cure Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) made contact in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2. Dixon's car was launched into the SAFER Barrier lining the infield between the turns, causing significant damage to the catch fencing.

Both drivers got out of their cars under their own power and were later cleared and released from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center at the track. Repairs to the fencing necessitated the red flag being displayed at the completion of Lap 55.

After an 18 minute pause for the repairs, engines refired, and when the race resumed on Lap 60, four of the six Andretti Autosport-owned entries battled for the lead, with Alonso, defending race winner Alexander Rossi (No. 98 NAPA Honda), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda), and Takuma Sato (No. 26 Honda) trading the point.

On Lap 66, AJ Foyt Racing's Conor Daly (No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet) made contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier, bringing out the second caution of the day. Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport driver Jack Harvey (No. 50 Honda) spun to avoid debris left by Daly's incident, and made contact with the with the inside wall in the north short chute. Both drivers emerged from their vehicles without assistance, and shortly thereafter were checked and released from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center and cleared to drive. At the time of the incident, Sato was in the lead, as the Japanese driver led his second Indianapolis 500 in eight attempts.

Racing resumed on Lap 75, but went back to yellow for debris on Lap 81. The pits opened during the caution, where most of the leaders came to pit lane, while Team Penske's Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet), Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) and Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet) stayed out and led the field to the Lap 84 restart.

Chilton passed Power off the restart to lead his first laps at the Indianapolis 500, and just his second time leading an Indy car race, but Hunter-Reay and Rossi quickly returned to the fray, passing Chilton and trading the lead. Castroneves worked his way to the front just before the halfway point, and the three-time "500" winner led The Greatest Spectacle in Racing for the 12th time in his career.

The third round of stops saw Hunter-Reay re-assume the lead on Lap 115.

Previous Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier (No. 44 Lazier Racing-Stalk It-Tivoli Lodge Chevrolet) brought out the fourth caution of the day when he made contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier. Lazier has been transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital complaining of chest discomfort. Under the yellow, the No. 24 Mecum Auctions Chevrolet of Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) came to a stop at the exit of Turn 1. Team owner Dennis Reinbold reported that the car suffered an issue with the battery, which stuck the car in gear ended Karam's day. 

The field restarted on Lap 129, but a debris caution a lap later slowed the field again, for the fifth time on the afternoon. The Lap 133 restart was also short lived, as one of the main contenders suffered an issue on Lap 137 when Hunter-Reay's car lost power and coasted to a stop in Turn 3, bringing out the caution yet again. With the pits opening on Lap 139, the leaders pitted for the penultimate time, and Chilton assumed the lead followed by Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Tresiba Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), JR Hildebrand (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet), James Davision (No. 18 GEICO Dale Coyne Racing Honda), and Graham Rahal (No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda).

The field restarted on Lap 142, but less than half a lap was completed before Ed Carpenter and Mikhail Aleshin (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) made contact in Turn 1. Both drivers continued on, but Carpenter lost part of his front wing, bringing out a debris caution, the eighth caution of the day.

The race restarted on Lap 147 with Kimball in the race lead.

Chilton and rookie Ed Jones (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing Honda) pitted on Laps, surrendering the lead to Davison, who completing his run from last-to-first with 35 laps to go. Davison was the 15th different leader of the day, setting a record for number of leaders in an Indianapolis 500.

The following lap, Kimball suffered a mechanical issue and peeled off course, bringing out a ninth caution of the day. At the same time, AJ Foyt Racing rookie Zach Veach (No. 40 IWiT Chevrolet) pulled off course with an issue as well.

The pits opened on Lap 168, where Castroneves beat Davison, Sato, and Hildebrand off pit lane. Chilton and Jones stayed out and assumed the first two positions, with Castroneves behind when the field restarted on Lap 171.

For the tenth time of the day, the caution flag flew for smoke from the No. 29 of Alonso, whose thrilling run in his maiden Indy car race came to a disappointing end.

Chilton led the field to the restart on Lap 183, but a multi-car melee in Turn 1 brought the caution immediately back out as the race neared its closing stages. Drivers involved included Power, Davison, Oriol Servia (No. 16 Manitowoc Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda), Josef Newgarden (No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) and James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda). All drivers were checked, cleared and released from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center.

Chilton led the field to the Lap 189 restart, when JR Hildebrand was penalized for passing before the previous restart with a drive-through penalty.

Castroneves again worked his way forward to second, and with an amazing pass on the outside of Chilton in Turn 3, took the lead on Lap 193. But a lap later, Sato also passed Chilton, then Castroneves at the line at the conclusion of Lap 194, and fought off multiple challenges by Castroneves to claim his second career Indy car win and first at the Indianapolis 500. Sato is the first Asian-born driver to win The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The top five in the 101st Indianapolis 500 were as follows:

1) Takuma Sato (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda)

2) Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet)

3) Ed Jones (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing Honda)

4) Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Honda)

5) Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda)

Lazier Racing makes its own family affair

The Indianapolis 500 has begat many traditions and habits among families who come from around the globe to visit “The Racing Capital of the World” on Memorial Day weekend, and the Lazier family is no different. Patriarch Bob Lazier made a single start at the 500 in 1981. Sons Buddy, winner of the 1996 race, and Jaques have made a combined 26 starts, with the former taking the green flag for his 20th start today.

This year, the Laziers bring a new family to the fold: the Caudle brothers.

The foursome – Jim (57), Bob (55), Ken (53) and Craig (46) – will make up the oldest pit crew at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, and they’re all rookies. But for a group new to the Indy car scene, don’t expect these four to crack in the heat of the moment, in fact, heat is nothing new to them.

The Caudle brothers are finishing a break from their day jobs as firefighters in Irving, Texas, where they have a combined 118 years of experience under their belts.

“We scheduled all our vacation,” said Ken, who will change the left front of Lazier’s No. 44 Lazier Racing-Stalk It-Tivoli Chevrolet this afternoon, “got all our subs together (back home) and we qualified 30th.”

The Laziers and Caudles first connected in 2014 when Bob Lazier and Jim Caudle were paired for the annual SVRA Pro-Am vintage car weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The duo won the event in 2015, and following last year’s 100th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” Lazier asked his co-driver if he would like to help the Indy 500 program in 2017. Jim jumped at the chance, and will man the right rear tire.

“The three of us were sitting there with long faces saying, ‘We want to do something,” said Ken of he and his other two brothers when Jim joined the team, “and here we are.”

Along with Jim and Ken, Bob will change the left rear tire and Craig will serve as fueler. Noted Indy car engineer and crew chief Mitch Davis will pull triple duty on Sunday as the chief engineer, team manager, and right front tire changer, while Tony van Dongen will man the air jack.

When asked about similarities between changing tires and fighting fires, Ken said he will look to remain calm.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” he said, “don’t try to go fast, you’ll make a mistake. Just know your job and do it, visualize it in your mind. All of that applies to racing and firefighting.”

Alonso speaks with Button ahead of Monaco Grand Prix

As the sun rose above the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this morning, Fernando Alonso watched his substitute from thousands of miles away. Participating in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Alonso (No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda) bypassed his opportunity to race in the Monaco Grand Prix for McLaren in his usual Formula One seat. 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button cameout of retirement to race in Alonso’s place, so the Spaniard called in to his British replacement as he sat on the grid in Monaco, and the two exchanged laughs.

“Take care of my car,” said Alonso, a two-time Formula One champion in his own right.

“I’m going to pee in your seat!” joked Button, who retired from the race in the late stages after making contact with a slower car.

More updates to come …

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