Ryan Hunter-Reay Wins 2014 Indianapolis 500
Ryan Hunter-Reay won the 2014 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday after passing and crossing the finish line .060 seconds before Helio Castroneves. While Castroneves will have to wait until next year before he can become the fourth driver to win four Indianapolis 500 title, Hunter-Reay enjoyed a unique accomplishment all his own by becoming the first American to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in eight years.
The first 300 miles of the Indianapolis 500 were smooth sailing until a red flag in the late going set up a six-lap shootout for the victory. Hunter-Reay passed Castroneves in the first turn of the final lap and help off the living legend through the final three corners, making it a memorable Memorial Day weekend for Hunter-Reay and Honda.
“This [the Indianapolis 500] is American History, an American tradition. For me, this is more important than [winning] the championship,” Hunter-Reay told Honda. “I hope the fans loved the finish, ’cause I was on the edge of MY seat! Thanks to my team, I love driving for these guys and thanks to Honda, we had an awesome engine today.”
Honda secured its second victory at the Indianapolis 500 in the last three years, its 10th victory since 2003, and took four of the top six spots in this year’s race. Marco Andretti finished third, Carlos Munoz finished 4th, and Kurt Bush took sixth.
This year’s finish was the second-closest in race history. The narrowest margin of victory ever recorded occurred back in 1992 when Al Undser Jr. held off Scott Goodyear to win by a .043 second margin.
What difference did .060 seconds make? Not only was it the difference between first and second, but it also cost Castroneves about $1.75 million. According to ABC News, Hunter-Reay earned $2.49 million for the victory; Castroneves, for his second-place effort, earned $785,194.