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Worth The Wait For Davis At Dominion

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Published in Racing News
Monday, 30 May 2016 20:42

Spencer Davis sat in his car on the front stretch, nose facing the car of Justin Haley, as the drivers waited for NASCAR officials to review the finish.

It was only a minute or so, but it seemed like eternity for Davis.

And then he got the word. By .005 seconds, the 17-year-old from Dawsonville, Georgia, had his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory. Davis edged Haley in a photo finish to claim the checkered flag in the ComServe Wireless 150 Monday at Dominion Raceway.

"Just the amount of emotion right there going on between the whole team," said Davis of sitting in his No. 41 Davis Poultry/Ruud.com Chevrolet. "That long dramatic pause was about to push me over the edge. When I heard my name over the intercom, everyone started screaming over the radio. And it was the best burnout I've ever done."

Behind Davis and Haley, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Austin Theriault rounded out the top five. It was the series' first race at the .400-mile oval in northern Virginia, which opened earlier this year.

Davis has seen his career accelerate in the last 12 months. While winning the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Sunoco Rookie of the Year last year, Davis recorded four top-six finishes in four K&N Pro East starts. Davis finished runner-up in the first two races of 2016, and was recently selected to the NASCAR Next program -- an industry initiative that spotlights the sport's rising young stars.

Monday's victory came in his 10th career K&N Pro start.

It was a bittersweet win for Ranier Racing with MDM as Davis' teammate Kyle Benjamin was fastest in practice, won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award and led the first 137 laps before an incident on a late-race restart ended his day in last place.

Haley and Benjamin entered the race tied in points. Haley qualified 11th and worked his way up to the runner-up spot. A restart on Lap 145, following the wreck that collected Benjamin and third-place Ronnie Bassett, gave Haley one last shot at Davis. Davis and Haley made contact off Turn 4 coming to the checkered, and went across the finish line side-by-side.

"He shoved me off into the corner, just like I would do it I were in that position," Davis said. "Everyone is going for the win. That was old style short track racing right there, beating and banging coming to the checkered. I don't think you could have scripted something better."

Rev Racing and NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver Ruben Garcia Jr. finished sixth, followed by Christian Eckes, Hunter Baize, John Holleman IV.

Benjamin's 23rd-place finish knocked him 19 points behind Haley, while Davis moved to within four of his teammate.

The ComServe Wireless 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, June 2 at 6 p.m. ET. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to action on Friday, June 17, at historic Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.

NASCAR PR

Alexander Rossi earned $2,548,743 from an overall purse of $13,273,253 for his victory on Sunday in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The rookie - whose winnings include $50,000 for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors - coasted across the finish line on an empty fuel tank in his No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian. Rossi beat Andretti Autosport teammate Carlos Munoz by 4.4975 seconds, treating the sellout crowd to one of the more improbable finishes in Indy 500 history.

Rossi was the first rookie winner since Helio Castroneves in 2001 and the first American-born rookie champion since Louis Meyer in 1928.

Munoz, who led 10 laps including Laps 194-196 before pitting for fuel and surrendering the lead to Rossi, earned $788,743 for the runner-up effort in the No. 26 United Fiber & Data Honda.

Josef Newgarden drove the highest-finishing Chevrolet, taking third and $574,243 in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing. He led 14 laps in what was his best finish in five Indianapolis 500 starts.

Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion, led five different times in the second half of the race for 19 laps overall in the wild race that featured 54 lead changes among 13 drivers. He earned $445,743 in the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

Rounding out the top five was Charlie Kimball, the only in the top five to not lead a lap. He earned $423,243 in the No. 42 Tresiba Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and now has four top-10 finishes in his last five Indy 500 starts.

Pole sitter James Hinchcliffe led 11 times for 27 laps, his fourth consecutive "500" with laps led. He won $502,993 in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, which included the $100,00 Verizon P1 Award.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indy 500 champion, led the most times (15) and the most laps (52) but could only muster a 24th-place finish after a pit road incident on Lap 117 with Andretti Autosport teammate Townsend Bell and Team Penske's Helio Castroneves. Hunter-Reay earned $419,243 in the No. 28 DHL Honda.

Defending champion Juan Pablo Montoya was the first car out of Sunday's race after a Lap 64 crash. He earned $339,493 in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

The Indianapolis 500 purse consists of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Verizon IndyCar Series awards, plus other designated and special awards. Purse awards were announced and presented at the Victory Awards Celebration presented by Ice Miller, Contour Hardening, Inc., Allied Solutions and PWC on Monday, May 30, at the JW Marriott downtown.

IMS PR
Qualified 12th for this off-series' race, the young driver from Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce had to fight hard to get back in the leader's pack. In fact, until the very end of the race, Lessard was in 8th position on a 36 cars field, but, showing off once again his racing skills, he managed to pass four drivers with only 6 laps remaining in the race, to grab the 4th place.  
 
It was Raphaël's first participation at the ''DEEP SOUTH CRANES BLIZZARD #2" and he did sodriving his Toyota Camry Super Late Model #99 FRL Express/Team Coach Imaging/Toyota/JBLAudio prepared by David Gilliland Racing. This race at the Five Flags Speedway attracts the best drivers from the United States, since later in the year, the very popular "Snowball Derby" will take place at this track, thus, providing drivers some very useful practice on the track.
 
"For us, this 4th place is a little bit like a victory," says Robert Desrosiers, Raphaël's agent. "Here, it is like a big festival, and only the best drivers come on this track. Raphaël showed consistency right from the start, making sure he would end up in the Top 5."
 
"We started 12th, everything was going great, I was careful. Not too long after the start, there was a yellow flag, and at the restart, I missed shift, which caused me to fall back in 15th position. But I was able to climb back up. During another yellow, I was on the outside and I was able to pass 3 drivers at the restart", explained Raphaël Lessard after the race, relieved from all the stress of this amazing performance.
 
"I would like to thank Gilliland Racing who, once again, provided me with a great car from start to finish. I have to thank them a lot for working so hard on Thursday and Friday to prepare the car. I too worked very very hard during this race, it was a really good team effort!"
 
Raphaël's next race on the CARS Tour will be on June 11, 2016, at the Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina.

Raphael Lessard PR

Thursday Thunder Lights Up Atlanta

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Published in Racing News
Monday, 30 May 2016 16:45

Atlanta Motor Speedway kicks off its 19th season of Thursday Thunder on June 2nd. Thursday Thunder is part of the INEX US Legends Cars International, started by Speedway Motorsports Inc.

 

US Legends Cars International produces Legends, Bandolero, Thunder Roadsters, and Dirt Modified cars. They are sanctioned by INEX to provide fun and to be an affordable racing opportunity for everyone. They provide cars to countries all over the world, most recently Japan.

 

On Papa John’s Thursday Thunder Media Day, Ken Ragan, director of US Legends of Georgia, brought in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano, Reed Sorenson, and David Regan, as well as three current US Legend Car drivers, and Donald Hawk, Speedway Motorsports Incorporated Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, to talk about the upcoming season.

 

Joey Logano, Reed Sorenson, and David Regan talked about how the influence of racing in the US Legends Cars effected their driving style in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

 

Reed Sorenson stated, “I thought Legends car racing was very competitive. You’ve got people on different levels, and I think you learn something new every week. These cars are not easy to drive. Anybody who has ever driven them knows that you need a lot of car control. What you can learn from these cars and what you can learn from the competition definitely helps you for that next level. These guys, at their age – and we thought this a long time ago – is the best choice to try to move up to that next level.”

Joey Logano stated, “Legends car racing and Bandoleros goes back to the deepest roots for me. That’s what it’s all about. It’s very competitive, and that’s a lot of fun in itself. But for me, as I get a little bit older, I just know we had a lot of fun, and it was fun for my family and me. We were from Connecticut. We didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t know anything about racing. My parents didn’t race, and we just kind of winged it and had fun with it. We’d show up and work hard and figure out all this stuff, and it was just a fun, family, growing experience.”

David Regan stated, “As a kid, it’s neat to just be at a race track that the NASCAR stars are racing at on the weekends, and I had a similar experience showing up to a large facility with a lot of grandstands and the banking that the Dale Earnhardts and Jeff Gordons were racing on. When you’re 8, 9, 10 years old, that’s a really neat thing. When you’re a young kid, you’re not really thinking about 10 years down the road and trying to get into the NASCAR world or what you’re going to do with your career, your job when you’re finished with school. You’re just worried about having fun. You make a lot of friends in the garage, and it’s a family thing.”

 

Ed Clark, president and GM of Atlanta Motor Speedway, stated “This is our favorite time of year. The weather gets really hot here. As hot as the weather is, the grassroots racing we have here will heat up big time.  We have have been doing this for 19 years. It is time to change things up.”

The Pro class will be returning to Atlanta this season. This will be the main event of Thursday evenings. Racing Radios will sponsor the series. This series will be broadcasted locally on 92.5 The Bear, the local NASCAR radio affiliate.

Atlanta Motor Speedway and Ragan are expecting their largest car count for this season of Thursday Thunder.

Hawk talks about the importance of this series. “Bruton Smith is passionate about Legends cars racing. If you look at the field in Xfinity, Cup, and Truck, there are 19 drivers who are literally winning races today who sat in these cars. We are proud of the program and what they pulled together.”

“Without media, without fans, without competitors, this sport is zero. We [SMI] are becoming more aware of that everyday. We need to build this thing together,” said Donald Hawk about racing in general.

Hawk also challenges drivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway to go up to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday’s to compete. “We focus so much in our company on Summer Shootout in Charlotte. I am going to put the challenge out. I am going to put some money down here in the budget to Thursday Thunder because I want to see a little more running back and forth up and down the highway. I want there to be a reason for people to race at point A and point B.  I now challenge you to get some money to Ken so that we can have two of the best racing programs in the country, one at Atlanta Motor Speedway and one at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”

Papa Johns announced they will be the presenting sponsor for Thursday Thunder for their second year. “Obviously as a company, we are very engaged in the sports field. We love being apart of the race crew down here. Fans love us, we love you guys. It means a lot to us that we have the support here to show up. Our goal is to be apart of a team with a driver,” stated a Papa Johns representative.

Atlanta Motor Speedway will also be the host of the 2016 Bandolero Nationals on September 23-24.

Papa John’s Thursday Thunder kicks off on June 3rd for ten weeks. Fans can purchase infield passes for Thursday Thunder, $12 for adults, $5 for ages six to 11, and children under five are free. Grandstand tickets will be available for $5, and children under five are free.

Give Me Five: Charlotte Edition

Written by
Published in Racing News
Monday, 30 May 2016 16:44
NASCAR wraps up “10 Days of Thunder" at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. Over the 10 days, fans saw action from the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck teams in the Sprint All-Star Race, North Carolina Education Lottery 200, Hisense 4K TV 300, and the Coca-Cola 600. Here are five takeaways from the Charlotte Motor Speedway weekend:
 
·      Day vs. Night: Over the ten days, fans saw all but one-day race. The races that were run during the daytime hours seemed to be the most entertaining of the whole ten days. The Coca-Cola 600, which was run during the night, saw a dominating performance. Although Charlotte Motor Speedway prides itself in having night races, maybe it is time for Charlotte Motor Speedway and TV to consider making one of the races at Charlotte during the day. The aero package is great, but I believe it is lacking the factor of the heat of the day.
 
·      Aero Package: During the Sprint All-Star Race, the 2017 rules package was tested. Honestly, it produced some of the greatest racing so far this season. Teams have officially gained back some of the downforce that NASCAR took away during the 2016 season. NASCAR announced test changes to the 2017 rules package in an effort to take more downforce off, but it will be tested at Michigan and Kentucky before the final rules package is determined. 
 
 
·      Monkey off the Back: The monkey that was on Martin Truex Jr. has came off. He had a dominating performance in the Coca-Cola 600. Usually if Truex is dominate throughout a race, something happens that causes him to ultimately lose the race. Kenseth and Truex have released the monkey off their back. Who will be the next driver to have the monkey taken off their back?
 
·      Kyle Busch: Busch was determined to win this weekend at Charlotte since it is one of two tracks he has not won on. However, he will have to wait until October to take Charlotte off this list. Busch was not a factor during the weekend at Charlotte. Will he win at Pocono to bring this record down to only Charlotte? We will have to wait and see next weekend.
 
·      Weather: Weather plagued the 10 Days of Thunder in the Charlotte area. All-Star Weekend saw a busy racing schedule on Sunday. For the Coca-Cola 600, Tropical Storm Bonnie was planning its attack on the Charlotte area. Although it rained on the morning of the 600, it turned out to be a beautiful and windy day for racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hopefully Mother Nature will be kind to Charlotte when the series returns for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
 
What are your takeaways from the 10 Days of Thunder at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

Brady Boswell will add six races to his 2016 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule with Mason Mitchell Motorsports.

The 19-year-old will be back behind the wheel starting this weekend at the Pocono Raceway for the General Tire: #Anythingispossible200. From there Boswell will race at Michigan, Iowa, Lucas Oil Raceway, Kentucky and close out the season racing at the Kansas Speedway.

“I am very thankful to add these races to my schedule and be back with MMM,” Boswell expressed. “They always bring fast racecars to the track and I know multiple wins are within reach. In our prior two starts together we led a lot of laps and positioned ourselves towards the front, unfortunately lady luck hasn’t been on our side.”

“Pocono is the race that I am looking forward to the most. It's a unique place and I'm ready to take on the challenge of the tricky triangle. When you work with an organization like MMM, you have the opportunity to win at any track that you go to.”

In three ARCA starts in 2016, Boswell’s best finish is 11th at Talladega. He led 44 laps in his ARCA debut at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville and was racing inside the top-five before running out of fuel three laps shy of the finish.

Fans will be able to watch Boswell’s ARCA debut from the Fairgrounds Speedway on the American Sports Network, Thursday, June 2nd at 7:00 p.m. EST. Check you cable provider for listings or visit http://www.americansportsnet.com

Mason Mitchell Motorsports has five prior starts at the Pocono Raceway earning one pole, two top-five finishes and four top-10’s. Their best finish came in the June 2014 race when they finished runner-up with Mason Mitchell behind the wheel.

The General Tire #Anythingispossible 200 is the third of six straight races for the ARCA Racing Series.

Last Time Out: At New Jersey Motorsports Park, David Levine drove the No. 98 to a fifth place finish passing Kyle Weatherman and Josh Williams to solidify MMM’s second top-five of 2016 (including MMM’s win at Talladega Superspeedway).

The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards travels next to Pocono Raceway for the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 Friday, June 3, live on FS1. Prior to the race, ARCA is sanctioning an open test on the 2.5-mile Pocono triangle Tuesday, May 31.  Arcaracing.com will have live timing/scoring for the test as well as all on-track activity from Pocono Raceway.

MMM PR

Josh Williams, driver of the No. 6 Musselman’s Applesauce Chevrolet earned his third straight top-ten finish in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards by finishing sixth in the Twilight 150 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) Saturday afternoon.

 “The last 10 or 15 laps were really a lot of fun,” Williams stated. Everyone was racing hard and there was a lot of three-wide racing at the end. I felt that it was one the most interesting races at New Jersey in a long time.”

“Our team is definitely gaining momentum right now; our biggest focus is winning the championship at the end of the year. Good finishes and completing all of the laps is what it’s going to take to win this championship.”

“Were really looking forward to Pocono on Friday. We built a brand new car and the test will mark its first laps on track. Having a new car for us is a really big step forward for our program.”

Williams and his veteran team led by crew chief Danny Johnson proved to be quick all weekend long by qualifying the No. 6th in the fifth spot for the 67 lap event.

Williams wasted no time in the opening laps moving up two positions to move into third. Williams would take the lead after a restart and claim the top spot on lap 16 and earn five bonus points.

He would relinquish the lead the following lap and race inside the top-five before making his first pit-stop of the day. Williams would restart in 9th and methodically work his way back inside the top-five at halfway.

On the afternoon’s final restart Williams lined up third but then the bumping and beating began. Several drivers made late race contact and that would relegate Josh to a sixth place finish.

The 22-year-old remains second in ARCA points six races into the 2016 season and trails leader Chase Briscoe by a mere 45 points heading to the first of two races at the Pocono Raceway.

The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards travels next to Pocono Raceway for the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 Friday, June 3, live on FS1. Prior to the race, ARCA is sanctioning an open test on the 2.5-mile Pocono triangle Tuesday, May 31.  Arcaracing.com will have live timing/scoring for the test as well as all on-track activity from Pocono Raceway.

Josh Williams PR

Kyle Weatherman, driver of the Lira Motorsports No. 58 St. Charles Glass Ford Fusion, left New Jersey Motorsports Park proud of his effort in the Twilight 150 presented by Unique Pretzels following a top-10 in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Saturday evening.

A championship contender in the 2016 season, Weatherman knew he needed to solidify a decent run at the only road course on the ARCA Racing Series schedule.

After winning this event in 2015, Weatherman had high expectations for the weekend. After sitting in the top-5 on the speed charts in both practices, he was ready to take on the 150-mile event; however, he was involved in an early race incident that caused him to go a lap down.

While battling for position, a competitor bumped Weatherman off the track which lead him to pit road.

“I had a lot of fun this weekend with my Lira Motorsports team,” Weatherman said. “I wish we could have repeated my win from last year, but I'm proud of the efforts and dedication that the 58 team has. We got spun out early in the race and ended up going a lap down at one point, but we just stayed calm and got the lap back. The team made the car better on our last pit stop, and we made our way back up to the top five.”

Despite the on-track incident, Weatherman had one of the fastest cars of the weekend. On the restart when he received the Lucky Dog Pass, he restarted 15th, but made his way up to ninth within one lap. Within three laps of the restart, he was back in the top-5 where he had been competing previous to the incident.

“We had a good weekend. We had a really, really fast race car and it was good once again on the long runs. We were able to go from the rear of the pack up to the top-5 within three to four laps after we got our lap back. That shows how fast the car was,” he said.

Weatherman thinks that a win is coming in the near future, but he and the team will continue to dig and work hard to make it happen. He thanks his team for the hard work so far this season.

Kyle would like to thank St. Charles Glass and Glazing, MOMO Motorsport, TraqGear, and Ford Performance for being a part of his team. He also would like to thank Carlos and Amanda for allowing him to be behind the wheel of the No. 58 machine.

Lira Motorsports PR

On the biggest motorsports stage imaginable, Alexander Rossi picked the perfect day to make unimaginable history before a sellout crowd at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a worldwide television audience tuned in.

The 24-year-old Californian and Verizon IndyCar Series rookie literally coasted across the finish line to win the epic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in most memorable fashion.

Driving the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda, Rossi stretched his last tank of fuel over the final 36 laps around the hallowed 2.5-mile oval, running dry of Sunoco E85R as he entered Turn 4 on the final lap. The car's momentum was enough to carry Rossi across the finish line 4.4975 seconds ahead of teammate Carlos Munoz.

In the process, Rossi became the 10th rookie in Indianapolis 500 history to win the race and the first since Helio Castroneves in 2001. He became a Verizon IndyCar Series winner in just his sixth race and the first to win a race in his debut season since Carlos Huertas in 2014.

"I have no idea how we pulled that off," a stunned Rossi admitted in Victory Circle after drinking and then pouring the celebratory bottle of milk over his head. "We struggled a little bit in the pit stops but Bryan (Herta) came up with an unbelievable strategy. I can't believe we've done this!"

In yet another thrilling Indianapolis 500 that saw 13 drivers swap the lead 54 times - the second most changes in Indy 500 history (68 in 2013) and seventh most for any Indy car race - Rossi led just 14 laps. The majority of the field, including Rossi, stopped for fuel and tires on Lap 164 during the caution period caused when Takuma Sato's No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda made light contact with the Turn 4 wall.

Rossi sat seventh on the Lap 167 restart and bided his time as those ahead of him began to peel off for a splash of fuel in the final 10 laps. When race leader Munoz had to stop four laps from the completion of the 200-lap event, Rossi inherited the lead and nursed his car home with help of a tow from another Andretti teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Rossi's final lap averaged 179.784 mph, nearly 40 mph slower than the charging Munoz, but he had cushion enough to coast across the famous yard of bricks by the largest margin of victory since the 1996 race.

"This is unbelievable," said Herta, whose team merged with Andretti's this year to form Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian and field Rossi, who left the American open-wheel junior ranks for Europe and made five Formula One starts in 2015 before returning to race on home soil.

"Man, it was so close at the end," added Herta, Rossi's race strategist. "For a rookie to drive with the poise he did in such a tough situation - I was telling him, 'Don't let anybody pass you but save fuel' - and he did it."

Rossi's deal with Andretti Herta wasn't formalized until a few weeks before the 2016 season opener. His best finish before today was 10th at the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14. Now Rossi is an Indianapolis 500 champion and he continues a trend of rookies winning landmark Indy 500s started by Ray Harroun at the first race in 1911 and Graham Hill at the 50th in 1966.

"I don't even know where to begin," Rossi said. "In February I wasn't even thinking about Indy car, and now we've just won the Indy 500. Thanks to an amazing group of people who gave me an opportunity to come here this year."

The Indy 500 win was the fourth for Andretti Autosport (Dan Wheldon, 2005; Dario Franchitti, 2007; Hunter-Reay, 2014) and the second for Herta (Wheldon, 2011).

"After that last pit stop, I knew that Alex was going to try it," co-owner Michael Andretti said. "We knew then, all right, if he's going to try it, we're going to try different strategies. It really worked out. We had two cars that had a shot at winning with two different strategies.

"To be a part of history, to win the 100th running, to win it with a 1-2 finish is incredible. I'm a bit speechless."

For Munoz, it marked his second runner-up Indy 500 finish in four tries. The Colombian placed second to Tony Kanaan in 2013 to earn rookie of the year honors.

"I was really disappointed when it comes to fuel (strategy) and you lose the race because of that," the 24-year-old said. "I was really disappointed to get second. Half a lap short, that's what it took."

Josef Newgarden finished third in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing.

"Today's gut-wrenching just because I think I had a winning car," Newgarden said. "And when you know you have a winning car and you know you can win the thing and you go for it and it doesn't happen because of a strategy call, it's kind of tough."

Kanaan was fourth in the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, leading 19 laps. It was the 12th Indy 500 that Kanaan has led, second only to A.J. Foyt's 13. Charlie Kimball, also driving for Ganassi, finished fifth in the No. 42 Tresiba Chevrolet.

Defending Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya finished 33rd after crashing his No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet into the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on his own on Lap 64. Montoya became just the third reigning winner to finish last at Indy, joining Jimmy Bryan in 1959 and Johnny Rutherford in 1977.

"I started making up some ground again and the car was actually pretty good," said Montoya, who started 17th. "I went into (Turn) 2 with a big push and, when I got on the gas, it just came around. It's just disappointing. Our Verizon Chevy was really good. Just a tough day."

Hunter-Reay led a race-high 52 laps but had his bid for victory stifled following an incident on pit lane. Teammate Townsend Bell ran into Helio Castroneves on pit road and Bell's car caromed into that of Hunter-Reay, who finished 24th.

Championship leader Simon Pagenaud finished 19th to end a three-race win streak. The Team Penske driver saw his points lead trimmed to 57 over Scott Dixon, who finished eighth. With double points awarded for the race in addition to qualifying points, Pagenaud has 292 to Dixon's 235 after six of 16 races.

Castroneves failed for the seventh time to become a four-time Indy 500 winner, finishing 11th and retaining third place in the standings with 224 points. Newgarden vaulted from eighth to fourth in the championship with 211 points.

The next event on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, featuring the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit, the only doubleheader race weekend on the 2016 calendar. The June 4 and 5 races air at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

IMS PR

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