Winners and Losers: 101st Indianapolis 500

Here are the winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner following the 101st Indianapolis 500:

Winners

Takuma Sato
What a popular win this is for Takuma Sato. While many of his teammates got most of the attention all month, it was Sato who got the glory. With memories of 2012 looming large over the last 20 laps, Sato used his aggressiveness and brute force to pass Helio Castroneves with a handful of laps to go to win the race. It is great to see a driver who is always smiling and is great with the fans to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Sato is also now an instant championship contender.


Helio Castroneves
Despite not collecting his fourth Indianapolis 500 (even though the ABC commentators called him a four-time winner many times), Helio may as well be the fourth best driver at Indianapolis ever. If he got his fourth, I would maybe even put him second or third. The guy is just unbelievable at Indy. While all of Team Penske floundered, Castroneves carried the torch for the team and for Chevrolet as a whole. This is his third second place finish at Indy, twice in four years by less than a couple of car-lengths. He is a legend at the Speedway.


Ed Jones
It is sad because most people won't give a second look to Ed Jones after his masterful performance not only on race day, but in the whole Month of May. Jones nailed the strategy and kept the pace to collect a podium. His late fight with Castroneves was epic. What a memorable rookie performance from Jones.


Max Chilton
Man, I thought Max Chilton was going to win it there for a second. He had a veteran line out there and was impressively fast. While he was fair with the drivers he was racing with out there, he made it almost impossible for drivers to pass on the outside. This will surely boost Max's confidence in his IndyCar skills.



Losers

Honda
Some on Twitter said Honda lost 10 engines this month, which is incredible. Sure they won the race, but it was survival of the fittest out there. They lost Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball, and Fernando Alonso. I think Honda could have easily swept the top-five minus the failures.


Scott Dixon
A huge bummer for polesitter Scott Dixon and Chip Ganassi, as Dixon was involved in a spectacular crash the frankly should have killed him. Hindsight, this is a huge hit to Dixon in the points, who could have pulled away from the field with a modest top-ten finish.


Conor Daly
Loved the ambition of Conor Daly to try an outside move on Charlie Kimball after the red flag. Unfortunately, a bit of over-ambition, too much speed, and not enough downforce caused Daly to hit the wall. After a tough start to the year, Daly desperately needed a good finish at Indy. Now, he's in last place in points among drivers that are in the series full-time.


Lap 184 Victims
- James Davison was doing a fine job filling in for Sebastien Bourdais. He was set for at the very least a great top-ten, but ultimately, it was his wrongdoing in the crash.

- Oriol Servia was an absolute beast on restarts and was primed for a great finish. Every time the announcers said Castroneves got a great restart, they had him mixed up with Servia. It was crazy.

- Will Power was doing his best to stay in reach of the top-ten, but in an attempt to avoid the crash, he lost control. A shame to end the race that way.

- James Hinchcliffe was an innocent victim after being collected in Power's spin. The former pole-sitter has more tough luck.

- Josef Newgarden had a solid run going, quietly contending in the top-ten before spinning to avoid the crash. Not the debute at Indy he wanted with Team Penske.



Cone of Shame



Jay Howard
For a couple of moments this month, Jay Howard really impressed me.... Aaaaaaaaaand then we got to race day. Howard was moving backwards before running out of fuel on the first stint. Then came the unreal crash with Scott Dixon, where Howard got in the grey, hit the wall, lost control of the car and launched Dixon into the air. It's bad enough that Howard knocked out the pole-sitter and could have easily killed a fellow driver, but when he got interviewed, he had the audacity to blame Ryan Hunter-Reay. I wanted to see a replay before I rushed to judgement, but when I saw Hunter-Reay's view, I had no idea what Howard was talking about. After his fuel mishap, Howard was seven laps down. When Hunter-Reay tried passing him into one, Howard made it difficult, even attempting to block. RHR still made the pass at the last second, but rather than lifting, Howard failed to slot back into the groove and thus put himself out of the groove. Drivers all day were making identical moves without getting in the marbles. I think his excuse was bullshit and to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't mind never seeing him in an IndyCar ever again.


Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey