22 RYAN HUNTER-REAY, INDY 500 CHAMPION
A lifetime of work and effort was on the line.
It was something I’d never experienced
before. It was like time stood still.”
From a driver’s perspective, what’s it like
to race for glory at Indy? We all know what it
looks like from the outside, but what does
it feel like to be the person in the car
shaping their own destiny? Nobody knows
better than Hunter-Reay, whose duel with
Castroneves during the final seven laps
following a red flag – including a grass-
shaving jink ‘n’ dart he calls “the fake move”
– made last year’s “500” an instant classic.
Inside the cockpit and inside the
helmet, it was part dream, part agony,
part transcendence...and part mayhem.
“It continued to happen, turn after
turn,” Hunter-Reay recalls. “The last
seven laps felt like they took a half-hour.
Helio and I were inches apart and I was
taking lines where the car was getting
loose, but I never had a doubt about what
he final seven laps that constituted
the central drama of 2014’s 98th
running of the Indianapolis 500
seemed to stop time for the drivers who
raced each other for the victory. In reality,
it was only 17. 5 miles and 28 left-hand
turns, but it lasted for an eternity.
Narrow it down further, to that insane
final lap – the one in which Ryan Hunter-Reay took the lead from Helio Castroneves
for the final time, the one in which both
drivers ducked and darted around
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – and for
those watching in the stands or on TV,
40 seconds passed by in a roaring,
screaming, cheering flash. But it lasted far,
far longer to the people who created it.
“It’s a place I’ve never been in a
racecar before,” Hunter-Reay explains.
“It went on forever, and I think it was
because of how much was on the line.
The Indianapolis 500 was on the line.
For fans watching the 2014 Indy 500, Ryan
Hunter-Reay (No. 28) and Helio Castroneves ( 3)
put on a finish for the ages. Inside the cars, there
was no great masterplan, just skill and instinct.
7 LAPS, 17. 5 MILES, 28 TURNS, 1 WINNER, 1 LOSER
could barely recall
the final laps of his
2014 Indy 500 win.
Good thing it was
front-page news the
next day (LEFT) to
jog his memory...
I was doing – even with the fake move.
I wasn’t doubting myself or overthinking
the situation. There was no master plan
to it. It just played out that way.”
For both drivers, the cars underneath
them felt almost perfect. RHR’s No. 28
Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda and
Castroneves’ No. 3 Team Penske Dallara-
Chevrolet were at the point at which they
were floating, moving effortlessly out of
each turn to within inches of the wall.