“All of a sudden, it just started to slide midpack. I tried to catch it and there was no catching it,” Dixon said. “I feel really bad for the guys. We had a pretty strong car all day.”
RED FLAG RIGHT: Castroneves said that the red flag that flew with 10 laps left for Townsend Bell’s wreck threw off his rhythm. He also acknowledged that it was the correct decision by race control. There was too much debris scattered across the track to clean it up quickly, and the red flag provided more green-flag laps to the finish - and a better show for the fans. “I believe it was the right decision, to be honest,” Castroneves said. “It broke the rhythm, but it gave everybody a good, clean race. I think that was definitely the right choice.”
RECORD-SETTING RACE: The 20 drivers on the lead lap at the end of the race set a record, breaking the mark of 19 set in 2009 and again last year. The 6,105 laps completed by the 33-car field also were a record, and Ryan Hunter-Reay’s average winning speed of 186.563 mph was second only to Tony Kanaan’s 187.433 last year. There were just 21 caution laps, matching the record for fewest since 1976, when yellow flags were first recorded.
VILLENEUVE’S RETURN: Jacques Villeneuve finished 14th in his return to the Indianapolis 500, the race he won in 1995. He struggled early with his car and lost a lap, but was able to get back on the lead lap during the four caution periods. He was impressed with the early pace of the race, which went caution free for 150 laps.
“After being away for 19 years, I was happy to be running quickly at the end,” he said. “We ended on the lead lap and stayed away from the wall, so I think that’s an acceptable result for being away for so long.”
TOUGH DAY FOR TONY: Kanaan threw up his hands, shook his head in disbelief and rued the misfortune that ended his day early. The defending Indy 500 champion ran out of fuel during Sunday’s race, leading to a lengthy pit stop because the starter was damaged on his car. He lost 18 laps during the repairs.
“Our day was pretty much over before it started,” he said. “When you go that many laps down, you simply cannot recover. I always say this place chooses the winner and unfortunately today she didn’t choose us.”