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ICYMI: Rookie Alexander Rossi Wins 100th Indianapolis 500

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Indycar rookie and Manor reserve driver Alexander Rossi won the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil Sunday afternoon following a stunning strategy gamble from Bryan Herta and the Andretti Herta Autosport team that came good. It’s a stunning upset but an incredible run for the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda, having made it 36 laps home on fuel on the final stint of the race.

“I have no idea how we pulled that off,” Alexander Rossi said after the race in victory lane.”I really was focused on taking it one lap at a time. The emotional roller coaster of this race is ridiculous. There were moments I was really stoked, really heartbroken, really stoked. I was like, ‘Wow, I’ll need to see a psychiatrist after this.'”

The Manor reserve driver in Formula 1 has moved to IndyCar this year for the full season, following a late move in the offseason when a sponsor fell through and sidelined Gabby Chaves. But Rossi has been one of the pleasant surprises of the season, and his month at Indianapolis was close to flawless. He didn’t make a mistake all month, took to the track well, understood how to handle it and drove controlled all month. Now, he has been rewarded with a career and life changing win.

Two of his teammates and perhaps the favorites were knocked out of contention in a bizarre pit road incident. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell were running first and second when they pitted just past the halfway point. As they were leaving the pits, Bell tried to pass Hunter-Reay on the outside. But Bell had another car on his outside, too. And as all three cars squeezed to get out, Bell ran into Hunter-Reay. Bell finished 21st and Hunter-Reay was 24th. Before the wreck, Hunter-Reay led a race-high 52 laps.

Carlos Munoz,  Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball rounded out the top 5.

 

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