Juan Pablo Montoya wins second career Indy 500 title
Juan Pablo Montoya won his first Indy 500 in 2000, and 15 years later, he's back on top after a 99th edition of the event that featured multiple crashes and an adrenaline-filled finish.
Early in the 99th Indianapolis 500, Juan Pablo Montoya made contact with another car, as Simona de Silvestro clipped the right rear wing of Montoya's car to dislodge a piece and eventually requiring him to enter the pit for a replacement part. At that point of the race, Montoya was in 30th and appeared to have little chance of earning his second career Indy 500 title.
However, the Colombian proved that no matter how far he's down, he should never be counted out.
After a race filled with several more caution flags and one three-car crash, Montoya emerged from a three-car battle with Will Power and Scott Dixon to take a late lead and maintain it throughout the final few laps to earn the checkered flag.
"That was fun," Montoya said, per Autosport.com. "I knew I had a good car when I came through the field. But the fight at the end was hard. It's awesome. I'm looking for the words; it's too much."
Power, his Team Penske teammate, remained hot on Montoya's heels over the final few laps.
"Maybe I was a bit nice to Montoya into Turn 1, I lifted," Power said. "I got really close and then I washed out and had to lift. That was some serious racing there, a lot of fun. Credit to the team, finishing 1-2. Just too much push there. Congrats to Juan, he was strong all day. It sucks finishing second; it's the Indy 500."
Though Montoya's first Indy 500 win came all the way back in 2000, he was participating in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing for just the third time, one year after finishing fifth in 2014. It's the 16th win for Team Penske and its first since Hélio Castroneves took the title in 2009.
Power finished second after starting in the No. 2 position, while Charlie Kimball climbed from 14th to finish third. No one had to climb higher than Montoya, who started in the No. 15 position but quickly found himself in 30th with 31 drivers remaining in the race before continuing to charge throughout the day and ultimately take the title. Pole-sitter Scott Dixon finished fourth.
"We had a good restart; was just trying to pace it," Dixon said. "When I really needed to go I just couldn't turn the car. As the laps were counting down I was trying to make something happen, but the front wouldn't hang on. Congrats to Juan, he drove a hell of a race."
Relive all the key moments of race day below.
3:36 PM: Juan Pablo Montoya takes the checkered flag in one of the best comeback performances in Indy 500 history.
3:35 PM: Kimball and Dixon are still in it as the white flag signals the final lap. Montoya still running in the lead.
3:34 PM: Dixon has fallen into fourth place as Charlie Kimball moves up to third. It appears this could come down to Montoya vs. Power.
3:34 PM: Montoya now in the lead with three laps to go!
3:33 PM: Power remains in the lead with four laps to go as Montoya makes a move by Dixon to take second.
3:30 PM: Montoya takes the lead for a moment, but Power jumps ahead with eight laps to go.
3:28 PM: Dixon regrabs the lead with 11 laps to go.
3:27 PM: Power back into the lead with 13 laps remaining. Dixon and Montoya are on his heels.
3:26 PM: Dixon jumps from third into the lead in Lap 186.
3:25 PM: The green flag is back on with 15 laps to go!
3:24 PM: Castroneves has been warned for blocking, which resulted in Pagenaud's stall prior to the three-car crash. Hawksworth and Coletti have been checked, cleared and released.
3:21 PM: Daniel Chang, the second crew member involved in the three-car incident in the pit involving James Davison, has been transferred to IU medical facility with a right ankle injury, Reuters reports.
3:17 PM: Power, Montoya and Dixon occupy the top three spots with 20 laps to go as the drivers continue to race under the caution flag while the track is cleared after the three-car crash.
3:12 PM: Pagenaud is sitting last out of the 21 cars remaining in the race after dealing with car troubles upon restart, causing the rest of the leaders to have to maneuver around his car as he appeared to stall out. The race may have to go to a red flag after the three-car crash.
3:09 PM: The leaders jockey for position with 25 laps to go right before a multicar crash brings out another caution flag. Stefano Coletti, Jack Hawksworth and Sebastián Saavedra all involved in the crash, with Hawksworth initially making contact with Saavedra, who hit Coletti coming off the wall after contact. All three cars remained on the ground during the crash.
3:07 PM: The green flag is back out in Lap 174 as we're coming down to an exciting finish at the 99th Indy 500. Power takes the lead in Lap 175 looking for his first Indy 500 title.
3:04 PM: Power beats Dixon out of the pit and will be ahead upon restart. Carlos Munoz and Justin Wilson, who didn't pit with the majority of the drivers, are currently sitting 1-2 in the race.
3:01 PM: One of the crew members injured in the incident in the pit that put James Davison and Tristan Vautier out of the race has been cleared by medical staff and released.
2:59 PM: The caution flag has been waved in Lap 169 with debris on the backstretch. Dixon maintains the lead, followed by Power in second, Montoya in third, Pagenaud in fourth and Andretti in fifth.
2:57 PM: Power and Pagenaud move into third and fourth respectively, pushing Kimball to fifth place. Soon after, Montoya completes an amazing comeback to briefly grab the lead from Dixon. Montoya encountered pit troubles early on that left him in 30th place at one point.
2:55 PM: Dixon grabs the lead by coming on the outside of Kimball. Montoya also maneuvers by Kimball to take second place in Lap 164.
2:54 PM: The green flag is back on with 40 laps to go!
2:49 PM: Kanaan has been cleared and released after being checked out by medical staff. Kimball, Pagenaud, Dixon, Montoya and Power comprise the top five as drivers continue to operate under caution. Castroneves and Marco Andretti sit sixth and seventh, respectively.
2:45 PM: Alex Tagliani took a brief lead under caution before eventually making his pit stop. The lead now belongs to Charlie Kimball, who was the last in the pit and earned a favorable exit during caution, as the drivers prepare for the restart.
2:41 PM: Pagenaud almost collides with Montoya coming out the pit. And now the caution flag comes out in Lap 152 as Tony Kanaan crashes into the wall, bringing his 300th career race and his bid for a second Indy 500 title to an end.
2:37 PM: Dixon has Pagenaud on his heels in Lap 147. Defending Indy 500 champ Ryan Hunter-Reay is in the pit near the back of the field. The leaders start to enter the pit as well with the field down to 26 drivers.
2:33 PM: Still in the lead at Lap 141, Scott Dixon has moved into 12th place on the all-time lap leaders board at the Indy 500.
2:30 PM: In case you missed it earlier, none other than Jeff Gordon was behind the wheel of the pace car for this year's Indy 500.
2:26 PM: Juan Pablo Montoya has been as high as first and as low as 30th in this race. He sits second behind Dixon in Lap 130. Pagenaud, Power and Kanaan make up the rest of the top five.
2:23 PM: Scott Dixon completes a heady move on the inside to jump into second before passing Pagenaud to take the lead. Then Montoya and Kanaan make moves in the top five. Bottled up several times during the race due to caution flags, the drivers are letting loose heading into the final 70 laps.
2:21 PM: The race has been restarted and 2014 IndyCar Series champion Will Power takes the lead from Simon Pagenaud in Lap 124 before Pagenaud retakes the first position in Lap 125. Both are seeking their first Indy 500 win.
2:18 PM: An ambulance is in the pit to tend to the two injured crew members as the drivers still continue to race under a caution flag.
2:15 PM: Pagenaud is in the lead in Lap 120 as the race remains under caution. Power, Dixon, Montoya and Castroneves round out the top five.
2:12 PM: An incident in the pits, as James Davison tried to exit but ran into Pippa Mann, causing him to jerk the car into the car of Tristan Vautier, who was still being worked on by his crew. At least two crew members appeared to be injued in the incident.
the incident on pit road. hope they are ok. https://t.co/if7HWZMLtn— Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) May 24, 2015
2:07 PM: The third yellow flag is out after a crash involving Ed Carpenter and Oriol Servià in Lap 113.
1:59 PM: Pagenaud has the lead in Lap 104, followed by Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Power and Dixon.
1:58 PM: Charlie Kimball comes very close to hitting a tire changer in the pit.
1:55 PM: Kanaan in and out of his pit stop in 8.5 seconds in Lap 98. The rest of the top five come into the pit stop in Lap 101.
1:54 PM: Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske cars make up the entire top seven as we near the midway point of the race. Kanaan is maintaining his lead over Pagenaud in Lap 98.
1:50 PM: Kanaan and Pagenaud sit 1-2 in Lap 92 as drivers near their next pit stop. Power has third position ahead of Dixon and Kimball.
1:47 PM: Eric Wayne Scott, inside front tire changer for Gabby Chaves, is OK after being checked out by IU Medical Center personnel. Chaves was previously announced to be in line for a postrace review for a potential pit safety violation.
1:43 PM: Lap 80 has Kanaan still in the lead, followed by Dixon, Pagenaud, Power and Charlie Kimball, who started the race in 14th position.
1:39 PM: Dixon and Kanaan battle for the lead, with Dixon shooting ahead briefly before his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate takes it back.
1:37 PM: And Kanaan breaks out an outstanding move to pass both Pagenaud and Dixon to take the lead in Lap 73!
1:36 PM: Dixon retakes the lead shortly after the green flag is waved, and Pagenaud grabs it right back.
1:35 PM: The green is back on for Lap 71. Coming out of the yellow, Pagenaud has the lead, followed by Dixon, Kanaan, Power and Castroneves. Montoya is up to eighth after early trouble.
1:29 PM: Clauson is able to walk away without apparent injury after crashing into the wall in Lap 64. The drivers are into the pit, and Pagenaud makes it out of the pits first to take the lead. We're in Lap 67 and still under a yellow flag.
1:27 PM: Sage Karam, out of the race after a Lap 1 crash involving Takuma Sato, as a present for the Japanese driver.
@TakumaSatoRacer thinking he can win the indy 500 in the first turn. Thanks man. I have some of your front wing when should I return it?— Sage Karam (@SageKaram) May 24, 2015
1:25 PM: Bryan Clauson is into the wall at Turn 4 and the caution flag is out for Lap 64.
1:20 PM: Race control has announced that there will be a postrace review of Gabby Chaves for a potential pit safety violation.
1:17 PM: Pagenaud is in second and battling to pass Dixon for the lead, but both he and Kanaan had trouble lapping Tristan Vautier, allowing Dixon remain in front.
1:15 PM: As 31 cars continue to vie for the Borg-Warner trophy, James Hinchcliffe recovers from injuries suffered in a massive crash during Monday's practice session.
1:10 PM: Montoya has a rough time in the pit, taking 12.5 seconds during his stop after failing to halt his car perfectly and exceeding his box. Scott Dixon remains the leader in Lap 43, followed by Pagenaud, Kanaan, Castroneves and Power.
1:04 PM: Scott Dixon remains in the lead on Lap 34, and takes a quick pit stop a few laps later. Kanaan also heads into the pit to change tires and refuel.
12:56 PM: Dixon and Kanaan trade the lead back and forth, with Kanaan in the lead in Lap 23. The pair, along with Pagenaud and Power, have separated from the pack.
12:53 PM: Scott Dixon loses the lead to Tony Kanaan in Lap 19, with Pagenaud and Will Power following.
12:49 PM: The race is back under green.
12:48 PM: The restart has been waved off again as the Indy 500 continues to be run under a yellow flag. Replays showed that it was Simona de Silvestro who clipped Juan Pablo Montoya while under yellow, causing Montoya's right rear wing to eventually break off. Montoya's now last in the field after repairs.
12:43 PM: Jody Karam, the father of driver Sage Karam, has some harsh words for Takuma Sato after a Lap 1 crash knocked his son out of the race.
Sato = brainless idiot + dangerous— jody karam (@jodykaram) May 24, 2015
Sage himself labeled Sato's attempt to pass on the outside "a bonehead move."
Sage Karam said of Takuma Sato not giving him anywhere to go in Turn 1 of first lap: "It's a shame ... It's just a bonehead move."— Phillip B Wilson (@pwilson24) May 24, 2015
12:42 PM: The initial restart has been waived off, as Juan Pablo Montoya is dealing with damage to the right rear wing on back of his car after hitting something. After the broken piece flapped in the wind for a minute or two, it finally fell off, sending Montoya to the pit for repairs.
12:38 PM: Sage Karam's race is finished after a Lap 1 crash, but he's been cleared and released from infield care.
12:35 PM: The debris from the crash is being cleaned up before the restart. Scott Dixon is the leader in Lap 5, following be fellow first-row starters Will Power and Simon Pagenaud.
12:30 PM: Almost immediately we have a crash. Sage Karam crashed into the wall out of Turn 1 trying to give more room to the inside driver, while Takuma Sato tried to pass Karam on the outside. Ryan Briscoe also involved. The yellow flag is out during the first lap of the race.
12:29 PM: The green flag has been waived and the 99th Indianapolis 500 is officially underway.
12:28 PM: Conor Daly's car has caught fire! His race is over before it can even begin.
12:26 PM: Alex Tagliani has his car rolling after having trouble getting started.
Tag is rolling and the field of 33 is now fully underway on pace laps. Green fourth time by. #indy500— INDYCAR on NBCSN (@IndyCaronNBCSN) May 24, 2015
12:23 PM: Alex Tagliani has yet to get his car moving, as he is reportedly having trouble getting the car into gear, per the telecast.
Tags didn't get going from the grid. Team working with his car now...— Shay Hazen (@SHAYZEN) May 24, 2015
12:21 PM: Indianapolis Motor Speedway chairman Mari Hulman George gives us, "Gentleman, start your engines!"
12:18 PM: Straight No Chaser, an acappella group who originally formed at Indiana Unversity, is performing "Back Home again in Indiana." The song was sung by Jim Nabors for the final time in 2014.
12:11 PM: Drivers are heading to their cars.
12:08 PM: Intro for the National Anthem coming straight from outer space at the International Space Station.
12:05 PM: Nearly time for the National Anthem, to be performed by Jordin Sparks, former American Idol winner and daughter of former Giants cornerback Phillippi Sparks.
11:40 AM: The drivers are being announced, starting with Row 11 and injury replacements Ryan Briscoe and Tristan Vautier along with James Davison on the outside. Vautier qualified for Davison last Sunday while the Aussie was participating in another race, and Vautier would go on to be named an injury replacement for Carlos Huertas, who was unable to receive medical clearance due to an ear infection.
11:21 AM: Jeff Gordon, an Indiana guy and NASCAR legend in his final season on the stock-car circuit, is driving the pace car at Indy.
11:14 AM: Of course, a major storyline heading into the 99th running has been the proliferation of airborne cars in practice and qualifying runs.
11:11 AM: Pole-sitter Scott Dixon is attempting to be the 19th driver to win Indy 500 more than once in his career.
10:56 AM: Nothing is more Indiana than Larry Legend riding in the Official Pace Car at the Indinaapolis 500.
10:52 AM: Crowds are thickening as the anticipation grows for the big race, which is a little more than an hour away.
10:48 AM: What does it take to win at Indy? These fellas spell it out.
10:00 AM ET: Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is on the scene at the Indy 500.
9:38 AM ET: He wrapped up an historic run on Wednesday with the final episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, and the man himself is on hand in Indianapolis on Sunday.
One of the cars he'll be watching belongs to Spanish driver Oriol Servià, who's starting in 13th and carrying Dave with him around the track while representing the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team.
9:30 AM ET: Presented without comment.
9:17 AM ET: While the running of the 99th Indy 500 is on everyone's mind today, Mario Andretti wrote a column for the Indianapolis Star about next year's milestone, the 100th Indy 500.
Race preview: The Greatest Spectacle in Racing is upon us for the 99th time. After multiple crashes in practice and a rained-out first attempt at the time trials, the field of 33 is set, and the drivers are ready to battle for the Borg-Warner trophy.
New Zealand driver Scott Dixon is the pole sitter for Sunday's race. Dixon won the Indy 500 in 2008 from the pole and went on to win the IndyCar Series that same year. He has three IndyCar Series championships, the most recent in 2013.
Defending IndyCar Series champion Will Power will start next to Dixon after qualifying in second. Power was the winner of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9, the most recent event in the IndyCar Series. Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud will join him in the front row.
Qualifying fourth and starting behind Dixon is his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tony Kanaan, who won the Indy 500 in 2013. Kanaan will be running his 300th career race Sunday, looking to earn his 18th career win and second Indy 500 title.
Next to Kanaan will be fellow Brazilian Hélio Castroneves, the winner of the Indy 500 in 2001, 2002 and 2009. Just 10 drivers have won at least three Indy 500s, and Castroneves will be looking to become the fourth to earn four wins. He's the only active driver with more than one Indy 500 win.
Racing in his 10th straight Indy 500, American driver Marco Andretti will start in the middle of Row 3 after qualifying eighth last Sunday. Grandson of legendary driver Mario Andretti and son of 1991 IndyCar champion Michael Andretti, Marco Andretti will start outside of the first two rows for the first time since 2011. He has yet to win the Indy 500 but has five top-five finishes to his credit.
Outside in Row 5 is 2000 Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who opened the 2015 IndyCar Series season with a win in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29. It'll be just the third Indy 500 of Montoya's career; after winning in his first try in 2000, he finished fifth in last year's race.
Defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified 16th, earning him the inside position in Row 6. The relatively low starting position isn't an unscalable impediment by any means, as Hunter-Reay won in 2014 after starting in 19th position, becoming the driver from furthest back to win the event since Al Unser won from the 20th position in 1987.
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