A day at the Indy 500

See the sights, and hear the sounds, of the greatest spectacle in racing -- won by Tony Kanaan. May 26, 2013.

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By the numbers
Number of cautions 14
Number of drivers who led laps 21
Number of laps under caution, including the final one when Tony Kanaan won 62
Temperature at start of race, tied for fourth-coldest all time and 5 degrees off record set in 1992 68
Lead changes, a record at Indy 187.433
Kanaan’s winning speed, fastest in Indy 500 history 221
Laps Kanaan led coming into the race, most by any non-winner except Michael Andretti and Rex Mays
Top Five

1. Tony Kanaan
Average speed: 187.433 mph
Laps led: 34
Pit stops: 6

2. Carlos Munoz
Average speed: 187.431 mph
Laps led: 12
Pit stops: 6

3. Ryan Hunter-Reay
Average speed: 187.428 mph
Laps led: 26
Pit stops: 6

4. Marco Andretti
Average speed: 187.26
Laps led: 31
Pit stops: 6

5. Justin Wilson
Average speed: 187.417
Laps led: 0
Pit stops: 6
Associated Press
Tony Kanaan celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Kanaan took the lead on a late restart. A yellow flag then came out, allowing Kanaan to win.

Luck turns Kanaan’s way

Yellow flag flies after late pass to grab lead

Associated Press
Tony Kanaan is congratulated by car owner Jimmy Vasser after winning the race Sunday. It was Kanaan’s first win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

– The hard-luck loser no more, Tony Kanaan finally won the Indianapolis 500 Sunday – with a bit of luck, at that.

In the mix all day during a record 68 lead changes, Kanaan dipped inside defending IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay on a restart with three laps to go.

From there, he cruised to Victory Lane under the yellow caution flag, flipping up his visor to wipe tears from his eyes as the crowd roared.

“I have to say, the last lap was the longest lap of my life,” the popular Brazilian said.

“I got a little bit of luck today,” said Kanaan, drenched in the celebratory milk. “I was looking at the stands, and it was unbelievable. I’m speechless. This is it, man. I made it.”

Kanaan had his fair share of chances to win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was leading when the rain came in 2007 only to lose to Dario Franchitti when the race resumed.

In all, Kanaan went into Sunday’s race with 221 laps led – more than any other non-winner except Michael Andretti and Rex Mays – but his second-place finish to Buddy Rice in 2004 was the closest he had come to victory. He had a pair of third-place finishes, including last year, again to Franchitti.

This time, it was Franchitti whose crash brought out the final caution to seal Kanaan’s victory.

The win for Kanaan and car owner Jimmy Vasser was celebrated throughout the paddock as the losers all enjoyed seeing the popular IndyCar duo celebrate. Former Indy driver Alex Zanardi, who lost his legs in a crash, came from Italy to watch the Indianapolis 500 and gave Kanaan one of his 2012 London Paralympics medals as good luck and then wept behind the pit wall as Kanaan took the checkered flag.

“I tell you I’m starting to think (the medal) really works,” Zanardi said. “It’s a dream come true to see Tony win, to see Jimmy Vasser win, my dear friend. I’m so happy, I’m so happy.”

Fellow Brazilian Helio Castroneves, shooting for a record-tying fourth Indy win, was happy for his longtime friend.

“Finally he’s able to win this race. He’s so close so many times, but the good news is the good old boys are still able to run fast,” Castroneves said.

Carlos Munoz, a 21-year-old rookie making his first IndyCar start, finished second and Hunter-Reay was third.

“He’s certainly someone I’d want to see win it if I can’t win it myself,” Hunter-Reay said. “We were a sitting duck on the last restart, that’s all I can say.”

The leaders came to the finish line all bunched up around Kanaan, saluting the longtime IndyCar stalwart who had longed to add the one missing piece to his résumé. That was about as slow as anyone had driven all day. The average speed was 187.433 mph, another Indy record.

Marco Andretti finished fourth, failing to win for the eighth time, and Justin Wilson was fifth in the highest-finishing Honda on a day that was dominated by Chevrolet. Castroneves was sixth.

For a time, it appeared the win would go to AJ Allmendinger, who led 23 laps in his Indy 500 debut for Roger Penske.

Fired by Penske from his NASCAR ride last year after failing a NASCAR drug test, Penske gave him a second chance with this IndyCar opportunity. Seven years after leaving open-wheel racing, Allmendinger finally ran “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and was leading when his seat belt came undone, forcing him to pit.

It put Allmendinger off the pit cycle, and he was forced to stop for gas twice far in advance of the rest of the field. He finished seventh.

“Once I figured it out, it was phenomenal. I could drive by guys at will when I wanted to,” Allmendinger said. “I felt like we were up front running our own race, and, I don’t know, belts come undone. It just popped.

“I’ll be honest, pretty special moment to be leading at Indy. My body kind of went numb, my mind was racing and I could feel my heart beating really fast, and that’s a special moment I’ll never forget.”

A year after 34 lead changes and a frantic finish created an Indianapolis 500 many considered to be the best ever, IndyCar had its hands full in trying to top itself.

So this one, with the slicing and dicing at the front, over and over and over again, might have been even better. There were a record 68 lead changes by 14 drivers.

“It was a hell of a race. That’s all I can say,” former Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti said. “This is riveting competition, that’s all I can tell you. It’s just amazing. The reliability of the cars is there. The product is there. It’s unbelievable racing, the best I’ve seen in years.”