WATCH: Ryan Hunter-Reay beats Helio Castroneves by .06 seconds.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has become the first American to win the Indianapolis 500 since 2006 after passing 3-time champion Helio Castroneves on the final lap to win the 98th Indy 500 in the second closest finish in history.
Last year, Hunter-Reay was passed for the lead with three laps to go, placing third in the race. After the red flag following Townsend Bell’s crash, Hunter-Reay stole the lead from Castroneves with six laps to go. In the end the Andretti Autosport driver made the final pass to clinch the victory.
Hunter-Reay told ABC:
“It’s a dream come true. It hasn’t even sunk in yet. This is just the most fantastic team, the support they’ve given me. To give me this race car two years in a row, to have a shot at winning the greatest race in the world, that dream has come true today. I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure.”
1. He Races For Andretti Autosport
In January 2010 Hunter-Reay was signed to drive for Andretti Autosport in the #37 IZOD sponsored IndyCar, where he won the prestigious Long Beach Grand Prix and Andretti Autosport’s first win under the sole ownership of Michael Andretti. In October 2010, Andretti Autosport had signed Hunter-Reay to a two-year contract through 2012. He is currently still a member of Andretti Autosport and alongside Marco Andretti who placed third at the Indy 500.
2. He Came in Third Last Year
A year ago, Hunter-Reay was passed for the lead with three laps remaining and went on to finish third as the race finished under caution. When he was leading in theIndy 500 2014, he thought he had control of the race until Townsend Bell’s crash brought out the red flag. Hunter-Reay thought his chances of taking first were over.
Hunter-Reay said through the radio:
“I can’t get a break.”
3. He Won by .06 Seconds
Hunter-Reay won by 0.060 seconds, the second closest finish in the history of the Indy 500. The closest race was when Al Unser Jr. beat Scott Goodyear by 0.043 seconds in 1992. Castroneves told media at IMS that second place is great, but it sucks.
Hunter-Reay told Fox Sports:
“I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure,” Hunter-Reay said in Victory Lane. “I’ve watched this race since I was sitting in diapers on the floor in front of the TV. This is American history, this race, this is American tradition.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY WINS! USA! USA! DRINK SOME MILK! EAGLES! HOT DOGS! AMERICA! pic.twitter.com/wXsDdDTFMQ
— Jalopnik (@Jalopnik) May 25, 2014
4. He was in the Back of the Starting Grid
Hunter-Reay started in 19th after a poor qualifying, but worked his way back up towards the front throughout the final 50 laps.
5. His Wife, Beccy, is an Athlete and Model
Beccy Gordon Hunter Reay is an American model, Olympian Softball Player and off-road racer. She married Indycar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay on July 3, 2011. The happy couple has one son Ryden, born December 28, 2012.
Gordon was the youngest member to date on the United States women’s national softball team and played in the 1992 Olympics at Barcelona, Spain.
At the time she was a swimsuit model for Roxy/Quiksilver for six years, along with Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret and Speedo.
Besides modeling and softball, Beccy and her sister, Robyn Gordon, formed an all female off-road race team called All-American Girl Racing. In 2006, AAGR became the only all girl team to complete the Baja 1000, coming out of the season with two victories. Gordon was chosen by Toyota Motorsports to drive in the 2008 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach as a “Pro” driver.