Chevrolet IndyCar V6 engine powers Tony Kanaan to career-first Indy 500 victory
Interview with Tony Kanaan, Jimmy Vasser, Carlos Muñoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay
INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Kanaan, No. 11 Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology SH Racing Chevrolet, had been denied a trip to victory lane many times at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), but as fate would have it this year, he was in the right place at the right time to capture his first Indianapolis 500 win.
Kanaan’s first Indy 500 victory was also the first trip to the coveted Victory Lane for the Chevrolet V6 2.2 liter direct injected twin turbo charged purpose-built IndyCar engine. Today’s victory was the eighth time the Bowtie has gone to the Indianapolis 500 Winner’s Circle, but the first Indianapolis 500 win for Chevrolet since 2002.
“Congratulations to Tony Kanaan and the No. 11 Chevrolet-powered KV Racing Technology team for winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Tony drove a great race, and the team executed flawlessly. Their total focus was on driving to the front of the field. Tony and the No. 11 team demonstrated tremendous teamwork, perseverance and a never-give-up-attitude all day.”
Rookie Carlos Munoz, No. 26 Unistraw Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, had an impressive run in his first Indianapolis 500 by finishing second in the event and leading five times for 12 laps. Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, was third at the checkered flag after leading 13 times for a total of 26 laps. Marco Andretti, No. 25 RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, finished fourth to give Andretti Autosport a 2-3-4 finish in today’s race.
“In addition to Tony Kanaan’s Indianapolis 500 victory, congratulations to Andretti Autosport Chevrolet-powered drivers Carlos Munoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti on finishing second through fourth respectively at the Brickyard,” Campbell concluded.
The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 was one of the most crowd-pleasing races that featured astonishing on-track action with 68 lead changes among 14 drivers - over a third of the field. The race was slowed only five times by caution for a total of 21 laps run under the yellow flag.
“A proud congratulations to Tony Kanaan and the entire Chevrolet-powered KV Racing Technology team for winning the 97th Indy 500!” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for the IZOD IndyCar Series. “The win was hard fought through a record number of lead changes and clean, close racing.
We are so proud of the tireless efforts put in by KV Racing and our technical partners to prepare for the race and executed it so well. On to Detroit where Team Chevy will carry the momentum of this great result to the Dual in Detroit on Belle Isle!”
Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Chevrolet and rookie AJ Allmendinger, No. 2 IZOD Chevrolet, finished sixth and seventh respectively. Castroneves led one lap and just couldn’t crack the top-five in the waning laps for a shot at the win while Allmendinger overcame a loose seat belt which put him out of pit sequence to lead 3 times for 23 laps.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet led the 33-car field to the green flag of the Great American Race. Carpenter, a local Indiana hero, led a race-high 37 laps but got mired in traffic late in the race and the car was not as good around other cars as it was near the front. He would finish 10th to round out the top-ten.
The next race on the IZOD IndyCar Series circuit is the Dual in Detroit Chevrolet Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix weekend on June 1st and 2nd. ABC will broadcast the event live at 3:30 pm ET on Saturday, June 1st at and Sunday, June 2nd at 3:30 pm ET. (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640). In addition, radio broadcasts will take place on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and www.indycar.com.
An interview with: Tony Kanaan and Jimmy Vasser
THE MODERATOR: Tony, welcome. I couldn't help but think of the fact, going back to the 1950s, there was a popular driver named Sam Hanks, and in his 13th start was able to win. You have led nine races or so in a row. You have been in position to win. I think all of us could imagine the feeling that this time it's really going to happen. Take us through it.
TONY KANAAN: I don't know how to start. But we had a great car. I knew that from the get-go. We had a great plan. I mean, it's one of those days, man. Everything was so smooth.
Jimmy was calm. I was calm. Nobody yelling, anything. I felt it was everything under control.
But I had 11 times that I've been here the same thing. So when it was six laps to go, went yellow, I wasn't in the lead, I said, ‘this might be the day, today might be the day’, because I was in Ryan's position plenty of times.
I knew I had to get the lead on the restart because it could be a yellow, which happened to me plenty of times here, and it did. How life is funny. The yellow was my best friend.
People are saying he did it on purpose. Obviously not. I can see him mad out of the car. When he saw I was in the lead, he was shaking his head, like waving at me. It was special, very special.
I never had a doubt I could win this thing. I talked about it many times that I could do it or not, but this place is still going to be special. Today it worked.
It was a lot of numerology. If we talk about Jenna Fryer, Jimmy, Zanardi, I don't know, man. The 11 and 12 haunt us the entire month. I think we're going to be 1112 is going to be my number next year (laughter).
Every time I got married, I won a championship or a race. I'm okay, honey, I don't want to win anything anymore. I'm good (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Jimmy, I don't think anything can possibly replace the thrill of winning as a racer, which you have done, but you have to have your sense in part of putting together a team with this guy who has been so close. It has to be a wonderful feeling.
JIMMY VASSER: Absolutely. I never won it as a driver. In fact, I couldn't win it as a driver, so I had to hire the right guy to do it, get a Baby Borg on my shelf.
Tony is the consummate professional. We set out as a team at the end of last year to focus on Indy. Instead of the whole series, the whole season, we took a chassis, in the old school name, called it a special, put it aside, worked on it. All credit to the boys. A lot of hard work over the winter, keeping things together. It's not an easy thing these days from a commercial standpoint.
I'd like to thank (indiscernible), bringing Simona, some of their group, to help finish out a two-car team, carry us through the winter.
Tony was right. The stars started lining up for us. We didn't hit race setup until about two hours to go. Most of you know Tony, but two hours to go on Sunday before the week was over, the worst car he had ever driven, ready to quit, hang up his boots. In a matter of 45 minutes, we hit on something and it was the best car he ever had around here.
We knew at that point we had the right guy and the car was good enough, we'd have a great shot at it today.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. Tony, you were holding some medals. We couldn't hear the sound. What is the story behind the medals?
TONY KANAAN: I didn't have enough pockets for all the things my fans gave me to bring me luck. I probably have to bring a truck with me behind the car.
There were two things. Zanardi is here, as you know. He brought his Olympic gold medal. Right before the race, he gave it to Jimmy, Jimmy brought it to the bus. I was laying in bed. It was an hour before. Jim as I said, Zanardi asked you to rub it. I actually cuddled with the thing. Still in my bus.
Nine years ago I went to make a visit in a hospital here in Indy. When I walked in, there was this girl. She was 14 years old. She just had a stroke. She was in a coma. She was going to get a surgery the next morning.
I had this thing that my mom gave me. It was kind of a necklace to protect me, not to bring me luck, because you know the way moms are. She tells me to race slow, which is kind of stupid, but...
So I took it out and I said to her mother, I don't know if you believe in these things, but I had this for a while. It always protects me. My mother gave it to me. I want to give it to you. She was like a life risk.
I gave it to her. She survived. She is doing really well. We kept in touch in the past years. This year, four days ago, she showed up, gave me a letter with an envelope. I opened the letter. Here it was. She said that she had enough of luck in her life, she got married, and she wanted to give it back to me to bring me luck.
So here it is. I think I'll retire that thing now.
Q. The old gang at Andretti Green Racing, you and Dario and Dan and Jimmy, you've all won now. Do you have a thought on that?
TONY KANAAN: I'm sorry?
Q. The old gang at Andretti Green.
TONY KANAAN: Bryan.
Q. You've all won now.
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, I guess Michael used to hire good drivers. Not 'used to,' he still does. Look at the result there.
But, no, we came from a generation, including Jimmy on that, our generation was really tough. At the time I was the youngest. They were the old dogs, the guys that set the example. Now actually here we are. I think Dario proved the old guys can still drive fast. I'm right next to it two years after him.
It's awesome. I think we showed it's so nice to make history like that, have good friends, have friends that really are winners.
I remember one day I was hanging with a team owner, I don't want to elaborate on it, but he said he only hang with winners because if you hang with losers, you become one.
I guess it's pretty good.
Q. So you talked about the reception you got out there from other teams. You got the long hug from Dario. You have this crowd of fans out there that mobbed you as you came through. I know it's hard to put that all in perspective and talk about it, but this is a really popular win. What does that mean to be so well-regarded by everybody?
TONY KANAAN: Well, you know, first I think we can prove that theory that says that nice guys don't win. I guess we proved them wrong.
Second, the 11 number never won here, so we made another history. Somebody told me that this morning. I didn't know if it was a negative or positive.
I mean, this place, I've always said it, it's been special to me, and I meant that when I said that. I didn't have to win here. I said that out there. The fans, they actually spoiled me a little bit on my win. When I finished 11th here, starting dead last, I got out of the car and it was exactly the same.
I already had felt a little bit, I hadn't drinked the milk, kissed the bricks, but it means a lot to me, because so many people I can feel they wanted me to win. It's such a selfish thing to do because what are they getting from it? I'm the one that gets the trophy. If you can bring some joy to them, and I think the best thing was try to put an exciting race for them.
I said it before the race, I believed that this win was more for people out there than for me. I wanted it all my life. But over the years, I was kind of okay with the fact that I may never have a chance to win it. Then I started coming back here.
From day one, it catches me by surprise, I can't walk out there, I couldn't before, I don't know now, maybe it's going to get worse, the parade, everywhere, it's just unbelievable.
It's nice. I think wins are important, trophies are really nice, but what I'm going to take forever, it's definitely this.
Q. Tony, you're a student of the sport. I don't know if you had a chance to meet Lloyd Ruby or not. You had been linked with him as far as best drivers to never win the Indianapolis 500. To finally be rid of that title, talk about how well and relieved you feel.
TONY KANAAN: It wasn't a pressure. Robby Miller tried to hammer that every year that I was here (laughter).
Again, it's so hard to win a race. It's even harder to pick a race to win. I'm glad I put myself out of that group and put myself in the other group.
Before the race, it was very special. Parnelli came to me and said, I want you to win. I'm like, Whoa, all right. I've always admired the legends of this place. Rick Mears, A.J., Mario, Parnelli. It starts to get into you. Then to have these people telling you they want you to win, it's awesome.
I'm glad I'm on the other side and I can put my big nose on that trophy (smiling).
Q. Did you ever think the bad luck bug might get you as the laps were winding down? When Earnhardt won Daytona, that was such a popular victory. Does it almost feel like that, someone finally got something they've been longing for?
TONY KANAAN: The first question, I never thought about it until one lap to go. I started to check everything in my car. Do we have enough fuel, have four wheels (laughter)? You kind of go crazy. The pace car guy, whoever was on the side, this guy is actually celebrating. I'm like, Go, can you go quicker? It's going to be a long lap if you keep doing that.
Up until it went yellow, I didn't. Obviously, we're racing, trying to concentrate on that.
Your second question, I don't know, man. I was already in America when he did that. I thought it was so cool. I came down pit lane. It was not the same, but it was close. I saw a lot of teams and people that thought I really deserved to win. It was awesome. It's a great feeling.
Q. Tony, enough bad luck had come to you before. The first caution, when Graham brought out the caution, were you worried you wouldn't get a chance? When they did restart it, did you think, I'm going to have to go right now in case another caution comes out?
TONY KANAAN: I knew there was going to be time. You can tell the way they conduct the things, the pace car got really slow. We were going to finish the race under green. On top of that, I knew a yellow flag with six, seven, eight laps to go, it's a big potential for another yellow right away.
I didn't want to be in the lead because I knew I was going to get caught on the restart. Again, it fell through. I was in the perfect place, exactly where I want to be, right behind the leader, with three to go because I knew a potential yellow could happen. It happened. I guess it was right.
Q. Did you have to set that up at all or did you just go?
TONY KANAAN: You can't predict a yellow. I was second. When it went green, I went. I said, I'm going for the lead. I was going to try to lead the last three laps. I said, I want to be first, because if something happens, I know because I've been back there. Anytime it goes yellow 15 laps to go on, people just turn crazy. I've got caught on that at times. Then it's time to race.
Before you could see it, Please, Ryan, you go. Marco, you go. It's your turn. Rubens said that to me last year. 20 laps to go, people turn mad. I said, No, then we start racing.
I knew there was a big potential, that's why I did what I did.
Q. Jimmy, what makes Tony so special with all his rivals?
TONY KANAAN: I have plenty stories of you, too, Jimmy (laughter). Remember Italy?
JIMMY VASSER: Well, yes. Enough, enough (laughter).
He's been a leader of the drivers since he was younger, back in the days of Dario, Greg. Just a lot of camaraderie. He's always out there to help younger drivers coming up with different information. He's just a great leader of the drivers. That's why it's such a popular victory.
It's not just the drivers. I was blown away driving around in the pace car. Virtually everybody was still in the stands chanting, T.K.
Q. Were you making love to the bricks or what?
TONY KANAAN: My wife was kissing the yard more than she was kissing me the entire freaking weekend. We have to see what's up with that (laughter).
No, I don't know what I was doing. People ask me if I ever, like, thought how I was going to celebrate. I never wanted to think about it. I just went there and did whatever I wanted to do.
Q. When you finished 11th, was that the first time you knew the fans here at Indy had a lot of love for you or was there an earlier time?
TONY KANAAN: No, I think it started when I had a crash. I'm not going to recall the year. I had a suspension failure on the back straightaway. I was sitting in third place. I had led a bunch of laps. I ended up hitting the wall in turn three.
I got out of the car, the entire place was crazy. I think it was 2008. Ever since then every year it kept growing and growing. Every year that went by that I didn't win, we kept growing the fan base. More people felt sorry. More people felt that I deserved to win.
I don't know. Got out of control actually. It's awesome. Now people probably aren't going to cheer for me anymore. Whatever, next (laughter).
Q. You were talking about numerology. You're going to be the 100th face etched on the Borg-Warner trophy. Talk about what it's going to be like. How big of a critic are you going to be?
TONY KANAAN: He can't make me look as bad as I look already. I'm pretty sure it's going to be fine.
Q. But as far as the honor, the hundredth face.
TONY KANAAN: Again, it's just a number. Just to have my face there, it's a big deal. Jimmy would probably prefer if it's 112. I don't think I'll make it up to 112.
It's an honor just to be there, for sure.
Q. Tony, if the crash hadn't have happened, you had this 21-year-old kid that hadn't seen the speedway till two weeks ago, he was right on your tail ready to take over.
TONY KANAAN: It was good. He was going to learn a lot in the last two laps, I can tell you that (laughter). He was going to love this place, but he was going to have to come back.
He's a good kid. We go go-karting together in Miami. It's funny because Carb Day, he made a pass on me on the short chute. We don't do that very often. I didn't talk to him. I thought, This kid is good. If he manages to finish the race, he's going to finish well.
It was funny because in the race he got a hiccup in turn one. I put the same pass on him. Here you go, kid. With three to go, when I saw him behind me, I said, ‘All right, man’, let's start the lessons here. But it went yellow, so...
Q. Professional sports, there always seems to be one figure who finally gets a championship. Do you already feel like there's that weight lifted after the 11 years?
TONY KANAAN: I don't know what to think. I mean, I don't know what to expect, what's coming. I'm going to enjoy it a lot. It's been a while that I haven't won a race actually. Usually you take it for granted sometimes. When you win very often, it's one more, you're thinking about the next one.
Obviously this one is the biggest one I've ever have. Now I have a championship and an Indy 500. It's a huge, remarkable achievement for me. I mean, that proves that I can still race for a few more years. Our contract is up this year, so hopefully we'll find something. I don't want to go anywhere. I told Jimmy that before we had won anything. I have the people that I want to have.
I'm going to enjoy it, enjoy my life, enjoy my kid, that he hammered on me last week. He said, Dad, I'm five years old and I don't recall seeing you win a race. That was harsh. I told him to go to his grandma's house and look at all the trophies that I have won. It didn't go well with him. I can show him this one.
Q. Tony, this was a record-breaking 500 in many ways. Talk about the perspective from a driver's standpoint with so much uncertainty at the top with the lead changing almost every lap.
TONY KANAAN: It was a chess game. It's funny enough because I don't know how to play chess. I guess you play around.
It was just a good day for me. I mean, I was extremely confident. I never lost my focus. Jimmy was funny. Coming up to lap 100, I was running second, he says, Next lap is 100. If you want to lead it, just letting you know.
I was going to ask if there was any money for that.
JIMMY VASSER: There was.
TONY KANAAN: Allmendinger was a nose away from me, which is hard to do, but he did it (laughter).
It was just a good day. I was extremely confident. But I think with the past 11 years, I've been through everything here, I had none expectations. I said, you know what, we do what we can, put ourselves in a good position. I got yelled by Jimmy, Dude, I know you're showing off, but get back there because we need to save some fuel. I got to the front anytime I wanted to. That proved to me, if I put myself in the right position, everything else fell through, I was going to win. That's what happened.
Q. As a driver, do you like this style of racing? Are you a little bit frustrated, if you have a good car, leading you can't get away?
TONY KANAAN: I'm always a big fan of the best car wins the race, but that doesn't happen very often. I think the race for the fans, it was unbelievable. Obviously for me, we had a very few yellows. By the time we said, Okay, this is the last stop. It was like, ‘already?’ It wasn't like a long day.
It was a lot of action going on, a lot of people that didn't want to lead. People had a lot of experience here didn't want to lead. The rookies, I want to do this.
No, I wouldn't change anything. I think the competition has been extremely tough. I hate fuel-mileage races. This is a 500-mile race. There's no way you're not going to play that strategy anyway. If you say all our races are going to be like that, I totally disapprove. I know for a fact they're not. Here, it's three, four hours, so anything can happen.
Q. Can you take us through a sense from the last two years of what it takes to get here at Indy, almost not having a ride?
TONY KANAAN: It's a big reward. If it wasn't for Kevin, Jimmy, (indiscernible) putting this sponsorship together, I wouldn't be here. We got a call seven days before St. Pete three years ago. We kept insisting, we knew we could do this. These are hard times for everybody. I've always asked myself, ‘why do I deserve better than somebody else?’
My career, it's pretty successful. I raced for a big team, prime time. I had four awesome teammates that we enjoyed a lot. I won a lot of races. I was grateful for that. So I never felt sorry for myself.
It was just a situation. This is life. It's plenty of ups and downs. You've got to go for it. You take the opportunities. If you're fortunate enough, I believe if you're a good person, good things will come to you.
We've been surviving. We have our struggles. We fight. We're going to fight for the pace car now, who is going to have it, all that stuff.
JIMMY VASSER: Chip didn't give me the pace car.
TONY KANAAN: He gave Zanardi a car.
So, yeah, it's rewarding. It shows that if you never give up, many good things might happen for you.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Congratulations.
TONY KANAAN: Thank you.
An interview with: Carlos Muñoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay
THE MODERATOR: Welcome for second and third and the highest-finishing rookie. These are two drivers who have been in this room a lot this week. Defending IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Carlos Muñoz.
Carlos, Rookie of the Year is announced at the banquet. I'm going to go out on a limb and figure they'll call your name. It's been pretty good, spectacular, with both races. Tell us about your day.
CARLOS MUÑOZ: Since first I start, I was a little bit nervous with the pit stops and the entry to the pit lane and out. I didn't do a lot of practice during the week.
You know, I was pretty patient. I overtook one car, was patient, and at the end was pushing more. The first two pit stops, the one or two pit stops, was not that great. Had a lot of people to overtook me. I went one by one back to the front. The last two pit stops, the guys and me, we did a great job to not to lose any position.
The last yellow flag, maybe I could have the shot to win. The car was awesome from the first lap to the last lap. I have to be proud of me and no shame of nothing, to be rookie, to be second. I think I did a great race.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, I was studying the board. I see you're still looking at it. I actually thought to myself looking yesterday that leading may not be the best thing to do with a lap or two to go. When Tony went around, I thought that may not work in his favor. Obviously, this is part of the equation that goes into winning this race. You have your perspective and you can share that.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: First of all, it was awesome running up front all day in Indianapolis, having the car to put you up front. I could just put it where I wanted to and pass when I wanted to. We were just kind of biding our time. That was a lot of fun running with my teammates. Carlos did a great job.
The frustrating part is we were quick enough. I was leading by a bit of a margin there over T.K. or Marco. We had lap traffic coming up. I thought, This is great, if we can get in lap traffic, I can distance myself because our car was great in traffic.
Right as I was getting into the tow from the traffic, the yellow came. We were leading and the rest is history. When you're up front leading, especially on a restart, you might as well be driving a bulldozer. Everybody come on by.
I'm actually happy we got third. I figured with that restart, being first, we would have been shuffled back to fourth or so.
When I got through turn one, tucking in behind Carlos, I said, You know what, this is perfect. We're third with four laps to go. I can bide my time, put myself into a position to fight for it at the end, but it never came because of the yellow came right back out. It's unfortunate.
But I have to say I'm very happy for Tony Kanaan. He's done such a great job. He's a great champion. He's done a great job here his whole career. He's had plenty, I'm sure, of the days I've had. Feels you get so close and it doesn't work out.
Very happy for him, very deserving. Very happy for Chevy. Just disappointed because I think the No. 1 DHL Chevy was probably the one to beat.
But thanks to Andretti Autosport for giving us great cars. Man, is this place fun when you have a great racecar.
THE MODERATOR: Let's open it up to questions.
Q. On the last flag, were you in the position that you wanted to be?
CARLOS MUÑOZ: Yeah, the last flag, last yellow flag, I was a bit sad inside the car. I was not really happy. I prefer I finish for the race fighting for the win. Maybe work out, maybe not, but I would prefer a checkered flag race to see if I had a shot. As Ryan said, in traffic the car was so great.
But anyways, it's a good second rookie, so to be happy.
Q. Carlos, after such a fantastic month, now you shift your focus back to Indy Lights where you're fighting for the championship. Definitely a big job there. Do you feel like it will be tough to go back to there?
CARLOS MUÑOZ: Right now, let's wait what the future work for me. Right now I'm thinking Indy Lights. I don't know, maybe Michael have for anything. But right now, I just still Indy Lights my main program. It still will be. We'll see what happens in those days.
Q. Ryan, you've been watching the monitor pretty closely. Can you take us through what you're looking at, thinking? Secondly, when Dale Earnhardt won Daytona, there was a feeling in the garage that it was so cool. Is it kind of the same thing in the garage area to see T.K. win one?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: T.K. is such a fan favorite. He's a great guy, a great teammate, great friend of mine. Yeah, absolutely, it's great to see him win it. If anybody is going to win it in the field, he's one of the few I'd like to see other than myself. So that's really cool just watching it.
That's why this place is so special. I've wanted to win here since I was six years old. That's kind of what I'm thinking right now. Had the horse to get me there. We were riding strong today. Just didn't quite pan out.
But that's what's racing's about. We'll come back hopefully and have another shot at it next year.
Q. How much does dumb luck, good luck and bad luck, play into what Indianapolis is?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: You've got to have a lot of talent, a lot of performance. There needs to be some luck in there, for sure. No bad luck, no good luck, I think that's what we had today. We had no luck. We just ran around up front, had a great car. Nothing happened out the ordinary. We were on the bad side of that one. That happens.
I've been on the good side of that at other racetracks. I'd prefer if it could move 'em over to this one. You put yourself in a position to win. You're leading with five laps to go. We were sitting back on a restart.
We would have been passing on that back straight, I'll tell you that, had it gone green (laughter).
Q. Ryan, you had some great drafting back and forth with Marco and Tony, a bunch of guys. You made a couple of double car passes. Talk about how aggressive you had to be doing that and how comfortable or uncomfortable you were or weren't in those situations.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Just had to be at the right time. You had to be aggressive. The team is doing a good job. Michael Andretti, he's my strategist, so he's telling me when I need to go, when I need to save a little bit of fuel. Just kind of saving the tires, too.
But at times he would tell me to save fuel, next lap, it was go, go, go, passes a fast as you can. It was fun. When I put the throttle down, the car was going. I could stick it on the bottom of the racetrack. I could get that right wing up high. It was a lot of fun.
I knew if I had a car in front of me, there was a way around them. I didn't find anybody all day that wasn't the case.
I had a blast in the car. It's almost nerve-wracking when the car is that good, about halfway, I need to get to the end, this thing is so good, it's almost like it's too early.
A lot of emotions around this place where you don't have that at other racetracks.
Q. Casual fans who tune in for this as a big event might say, ‘why don't they have a green-white-checkered like they do at other places?’ Would you like to see that or...
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: First, this is Indy, there's a certain way things are done. If tradition is tradition, we you don't materialize results, we don't try to produce results out of green-white-checkerds. It can be a bit gimmicky.
With that said, I think what's fans want is most important. Where the green-white-checkered gets a little bit dicey is that you have some cars that gamble on maybe a yellow at the end for fuel and some cars that don't. That would have taken another three or four laps to clean up. Some cars might not have had enough fuel to finish. We would have had fuel for it.
If you can talk them into rolling us back out there, I'd be all for that (laughter).
Q. This was an entertaining race from a fan perspective. From a driver's perspective, you can't control a whole lot of your destiny and whatnot with the air. Is it good racing?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It's good racing. The one thing, you get together with Dario, Tony, Marco, you talk about what we want from these cars. We have exactly what we want. They're very racy. You want it where good cars out front can start to stretch a lead if the is a good car.
Right now you can have a car that's superior by two miles an hour, a mile an hour and a half, which is huge around this place, and he won't be able to pull away from a car doing two miles and how slower than him just because it punches that big a hole in the air.
I am no engineer and I don't know the solution to that, but maybe the aero kits we are going for, IndyCar announced we're going to go back to beating the track record again, we're going to be flying around this place. I think Chevrolet and Honda are going to do a great job at going at it with aero kits, making these cars a little slipperier.
There may be some solutions coming in the future to that. As a driver, you feel you put the car in the right position, you're a sitting duck out front, we need to tweak that a little bit.
Q. Carlos, Ryan was asked about Tony. You as a very talented rookie, how much respect did you have before today's race for Tony? Has that respect gone even more?
CARLOS MUÑOZ: Outside the circuit, I have a lot of respect for them. They been here for a long time. Won a lot of races. Franchitti won a lot here, four championships or more, if I'm not wrong. If it's Tony Kanaan or another driver, we are fighting each other on track.
I learn a lot because a lot part of the race, he was in front of me. I learn a lot from him, how was he timing it and everything. I put this in practice and I start to get stronger and stronger.
Q. Ryan, on the restart, you had to figure there was no way it was going to go three green-flag laps. Did you really think there was going to be another yellow, another crash?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: No. I thought there was a good chance we could go green to the end. I'm an optimist, I guess, right?
I thought we could. But when we came to the green on that last restart, how many laps were there to go?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time (smiling).
We were sitting out front. What I thought, though, with three laps, we could have definitely found another challenge. Being third, following in behind Carlos, I was going to get a draft on him through the back straight, he was going to get a draft on Tony. Things were going to get interesting in a hurry.
I was liking where I was, yeah. I was hoping we were going to go green. Didn't think it was going to happen that soon, right away, turn one.
Q. Carlos, you almost feel like you have to go to Michael Andretti and say, Give me a ride for Detroit, Texas.
CARLOS MUÑOZ: It's up to him. I'm asking you guys to press what you think about (laughter).
I have to do my job. My job, I'm still Indy Lights championship leader. This was my main goal since I start the year. This was one race more to have more experience and it came out really good, I think more than expected.
I don't know what the plan is going to be right now. I think Toronto, for sure, next week is going to be really tough for me. So I have to concentrate working on my Indy Lights program. We will see what will happen really.
Q. Can you talk about the pace of the race. Record race. Almost 70 lead changes. I think we went about 130 laps under green consecutively today. Can you talk about the pace of the race and how long the green flag was out today.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, it seemed like a while it was out there. I really enjoyed that because we were sitting out front kind of setting the pace within the top three or four, doing 219, 220 averages. I was pretty impressed with that because we were saving fuel, taking care of the tires. At the same time we were passing back and forth.
Yeah, it was good. That's one of the reasons why I thought we might go green to the end because we had so much green running today. Wasn't much yellow. I think we only had one pit stop under full-course yellow. I thought we potentially might go green till the end.
CARLOS MUÑOZ: Last year I was watching as a spectator. I saw the front guys go ahead and pull away from everyone. The front pack was overtaking each other, a lot of changing from second to third, fourth to fifth, always the same guys in the pack.
It was a nice race for me. I was concentrating the whole race, more like I can, you know. And, you know, if someone overtakes you, you have to be patient, go overtake him later on. So it was a really fun race, for sure.
Q. Carlos, they're still voting for the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Is there a point to pass out the ballots after the month of May you had?
CARLOS MUÑOZ: Who is voting for that? It will be nice to be the Rookie of the Year, of the race, you know. I think I did a great month through the whole days, the qualifying and everything. Also I have to thank my team for that. If I will win the rookie, it will be nice. Also my wallet will be a little bit fatter.
THE MODERATOR: Your wallet is going to be a little bit fatter. Congratulations, gentlemen. A tremendous race.
Kanaan wins record-breaking 97th Indianapolis 500 mile race
Andretti's Muñoz is the highest finishing rookie on Indy 500
Chevrolet IndyCar V6 engine powers Tony Kanaan to career-first Indy 500 victory
Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.
Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.
Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.
One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title
The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.
The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.
Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves
Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.