The Indy 500 is over, the winner has made his victory laps and cashed his check. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the numbers and see what this means to Chevrolet, auto racing and America’s great race. Facts and numbers always tell the story in the end.
Cars powered by Chevrolet engines finished in cars driven by nine of the top eleven finalists – including the top four spots. Even with an early race altercation with Simona de Silvestro, the Chevy-powered number 2 car of Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest car of the day. After changing out the rear fender (how is it open wheel racing with fenders?), Montoya drove from the rear to the front with ease. It was clear that Montoya was holding a little in reserve for the end.
Montoya may have had the fastest car on the track, but Charlie Kimball’s third place finishing number 83 Chevrolet actually logged the fastest lap (in miles per hour) for the race at 226.712 mph on lap 102. Kanaan’s number 10 Chevrolet had the fastest lap by a race leader at 224.767 mph on lap 22.
Of the 20 cars on the lead lap at the end of the race, the split was even with ten Chevrolet and 10 Honda-powered cars. All of the Chevrolet-powered cars on the lead lap finished in the top 14 places, which shows how dominant the Chevy engines were.
Team Penske, with a long-standing relationship with Chevrolet engines going back to the early seventies, won for the 16th time. This is an event record. Montoya is the 11th different Indy 500 winner for Penske, and of the 16 Penske wins, five were with Chevy power. Five were Cosworth, two with Honda, and one each with Offenhauser, Mercedes-Benz, Oldsmobile, and Panoz G-Force.
Longtime Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon was the official pace car driver for the start of the race. Three-time race winner Johnny Rutherford took over from there.
Of the six Chevy-powered cars that did not finish the race, all were out because of crashes – no mechanical failures.
On lap 179, the caution flag flew following a crash in turn four, involving Jack Hawksworth, Sabastian Saavedra, and Stefano Coletti. Viewers were treated to a spectacular Chevrolet finish when the race was restarted on lap 184 with Will Power in the lead. The last 13-laps saw the exchange of the lead four times between Dixon, Power, and Montoya. With four laps remaining, the drafting car of Montoya swept around the outside of Power in turn one and held on to lead the final four laps and grabbed his second Indy 500 victory.