The box score is pedestrian, with Ryan Hunter-Reay officially leading the final four laps of the Indianapolis 500. Only it was better than that. Much better.
Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves staged a classic duel, swapping the lead three times during those final four laps to finish with the second-closest margin in race history (0.06 seconds). Only Al Unser Jr.’s win over Scott Goodyear in 1992 was closer at 0.043 seconds.
Hunter-Reay took the lead for the final time just ahead of the start/finish line on Lap 199, but it was his move two laps earlier in Turn 3 that was most memorable. He faked to the outside, then nearly drove his car to the grass for an inside pass.
“A daredevil move,” Goodyear called it.
Hunter-Reay not only earned his first 500 victory, he became the first U.S.-born winner since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006. Andretti Autosport scored its third victory; Castroneves was denied his fourth.
“I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure,” Hunter-Reay said in victory lane.