INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Ana Beatriz managed to put an impromptu proposal by her boyfriend moments before the start of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 out of her mind long enough to finish 15th, the best showing by a record-tying four women in the field.
Simona de Silvestro also finished on the lead lap, two spots behind Beatriz. Katherine Legge and Pippa Mann endured rough afternoons and finished several laps down.
The race was won under caution by Tony Kanaan.
“It was a hard race. I had some good catches out there,” Beatriz said. “The car was great _ it was the best car I’ve ever had here. We lost a little bit on pit stops. The last one really hurt us. That’s when my teammate (Justin Wilson) went to the front, and he stayed here.”
Still, Beatriz ended up with a career-best finish in her fourth trip to the Indy 500, and then had a tough decision to make: Her boyfriend of about five months, Daniel Sousa, got down on one knee and proposed shortly before the call was given for drivers to start their engines.
“After the race I’ll decide,” Beatriz said before the start. “But if I win, then yes.”
There was no word on whether 15th place was good enough.
De Silvestro said she had a “pretty good car” but was done in by a mistake in the pits, when she ran over a hose and got a drive-through penalty. But she was more happy that her Kanaan, her teammate with KV Racing Technology, finally got the win that’s long eluded him.
“Super excited that Tony finally won his first Indy 500 and that I was his teammate when he did it,” de Silvestro said. “I think we had a pretty strong car, too.”
Legge, who jumped into a last-minute entry from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, said before the race that she felt she had a top-10 car despite starting last on the grid.
Her opinion wasn’t changed after the race, even though someone moved up on her and she touched the wall. The rub forced her team to replace the toe link, putting her several laps down.
“It was unfortunate because I spent the rest of the race moving out of everybody else’s way,” Legge said. “The car was fast and we brought the car home in one piece, so I guess we should be happy about that. The car was good in traffic. I really had a possible top-10 car.”
Mann was easily the most frustrated of the record-tying four women in the field.
While trying to exit the pits, Graham Rahal illegally blended in front of her _ he would earn a $10,000 fine from race control. Mann was allowed to have her position, but it created some chaos on the restart, and Mann struggled with “some very aggressive re-passing.”
Mann was involved in another incident in which she had to avoid Buddy Lazier, who had fallen off the pace. She got into Sebastian Saavedra, sending him spinning out of the race.
“I very nearly lost my car because of that, and then I looked in my mirrors and saw Sebastian spinning,” Mann said. “I feel incredibly bad for him and his crew.”
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