With three laps to go, it looked as if we might be in for an emotional finish as Stefan Wilson – brother of the late Justin Wilson – was running strongly out in front. But he and second-placed Jack Harvey had to dive into the pits for fuel, a late caution not enough to get them to the finish, handing the lead – and the victory – to Penske’s Will Power.
That’s not to say it was in any way a lucky win for Power, though. He led 59 of the 200 laps and was looking a strong favourite for much of the second half of the race. Pole-sitter Ed Carpenter enjoyed several laps in the lead at the start, and then Tony Kanaan was a contender before dropping back with a puncture and eventually crashing out.
As Indy 500s go it perhaps wasn’t quite as bonkers as we’ve come to expect, perhaps down to the new aero kits. Drivers seemed to find it tough to follow each other closely and the cars looked incredibly sensitive to dirty air – Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Sage Karam, Sebastien Bourdais, Ed Jones, and Danica Patrick all crashed out in very similar ways, losing the car whilst following another driver. Last year’s winner Takuma Sato also crashed out early on as he collided with the slow-moving backmarker of James Davison.
But although it wasn’t quite the show of previous years that’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of action. Alexander Rossi in particular was putting on some utterly ridiculous around-the-outside passes as he worked his way up from 32nd on the grid to become a challenger for the win.
For ages, Power was something of a road and street course specialist who couldn’t buy a result when he only had to turn left. But now, four of his last six wins have come on ovals and, at his 11th attempt, he’s won the biggest one of all – the Indy 500. Add that to his other 32 IndyCar wins and his 2014 championship, and Power has now firmly established himself as one of the greats of American open-wheel racing.