2019 Indianapolis 500


The 102nd Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge was one of the races for the ages as Simon Pagenaud held off Alexander Rossi to win his maiden Indy 500. Many questions were asked about the race before practice even began. Would Fernando Alonso qualify for the race and will have the pace? Can Marco Andretti finally break the Andretti curse and win on the 50th anniversary of his grandfather’s win? Can Simon Pagenaud sweep the Month of May? Can Will Power get back-to-back Indy 500’s? And many more questions were asked before the cars hit the track.

There were a lot of issues and concerns during practice and qualifying. Fernando Alonso wrecked hard on the third day of practice and took the team two days to get the car repaired, Kyle Kaiser went airborne in the short chute of turns three and four, Felix Rosenqvist hit the wall hard down the backstretch, and James Hinchcliffe going airborne during his first qualifying run. At the end of qualifying, Fernando Alonso, Max Chilton, and Pato O’Ward failed to qualify for the race and Simon Pagenaud would start on pole. There were still questions heading into the race. Will any cars go airborne? Will the racing be close? Are we going to see a first time winner? Those questions and more were going to be answered when the checkered flag drops on the Indy 500.

After the start of the race, Simon Pagenaud took the lead early and no one would really challenge him for the lead. Four laps into the race, Colton Herta has a gearbox failure and would be taken out early. He was also one of the favorites to win since he had a fast car in qualifying. Power and Carpenter would battle for second as Pagenaud would still hold onto the lead. Then the first round of pit stops happened and there were already problems. Helio Castroneves hit James Davison and spun him on pit road. Pagenaud would continue to be the leader after the first round of pit stops.

After spinning Davison on pit road, Castroneves had to serve a penalty and that wouldn’t help his chances of getting his fourth Indy 500. During the next round of pit stops, Power slides over his equipment and that would pretty much ruin his chances of getting back-to-back wins. The fairytale story for Kyle Kaiser of bumping Fernando Alonso would come to an end as he would wreck in turn four. Halfway through the race and Simon Pagenaud is still in the lead. This is his race to lose and he’s been dominant all race long so far. 

With 60 laps to go, Dixon is in the lead and Rossi’s setback might clear the way for Pagenaud to win. Championship leader Josef Newgarden takes the lead away from Simon Pagenaud with not that many laps left. With 43 laps to go, Rossi is starting to move forward in the field and is now in the top five. Rossi passes teammate Daly for fourth place. On lap 178, there is a huge crash in turns three and four. Bourdais going up into the wall and goes slightly airborne and collects Rahal, Rosenqvist, Veach, and many others.  With 20 laps to go, the red flag comes out because of how big the crash was.

When the green flag comes back out, Rossi, Pagenaud, and Carpenter are the top three. Pagenaud and Rossi swap the lead back and forth and Sato has moved up to third. With three laps to go, Rossi passes Pagenaud for the lead and it looks like it’s over for Pagenaud. On the next lap, Pagenaud takes over the lead and they are going back and forth. On the last lap, Rossi makes one last chance to take the lead into turn three, but Pagenaud holds on. The checkered flag waves and Simon Pagenaud will win his maiden Indy 500 with leading 116 laps. 

It was a great race and it was amazing to watch. All of the amazing battles on track and finish made this Indy 500 one to remember. Also seeing a first-time winner of the event is amazing to see after going to eight Indy 500’s. I can’t wait to go to next year’s Indy 500 to hopefully see it all again.

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