INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Hunter-Reay nearly drove into the infield grass to pass Helio Castroneves with one lap to go and then held on to win by 0.06 of a second in the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
Hunter-Reay’s car-length victory, his first at Indy, kept Castroneves from joining A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser as the race’s only four-time winners.
Sixth-place Kurt Busch was the highest-finishing rookie and then traveled to North Carolina to compete in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600, where he was placed 40th after failing to finish the race.
Marco Andretti was third.
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A crash by Townsend Bell, who was in fifth place, set up a wild, six-lap sprint to the finish.
Hunter-Reay, 33, was leading when the green flag waved on Lap 195. Castroneves was ahead on the 198th lap before Hunter-Reay made the pass that seems likely to become a part of Indy 500 legend.
“I had never run that line,” Hunter-Reay said of his move down onto the track’s apron. “Not all month, not in practice. That was all new. I didn’t know if it would stick.”
If his wheels had touched the slippery grass, he might have caused a crash.
“There is a small difference between stupidity and bravery, and we were right on the edge of that,” Castroneves said. “I thought I didn’t leave him any room.”
Castroneves said he had planned to set up Hunter-Reay for a final swap of the lead coming out of the final turn but his car lacked the speed he expected.
“I was thinking, ‘This is going to be great,’ and then it wouldn’t go,” he said.
Hunter-Reay is the event’s first U.S.-born winner since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006.
CONCORD, N.C. – Defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson passed Matt Kenseth with nine laps to go and won the Coca-Cola 600 for his first victory of the season at NASCAR’s highest level.
Kevin Harvick was second and Kenseth finished third.
Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw finished 14th and Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was 21st.
• Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix from the pole.
• Courtney Force, 25, raced to the 100th victory by a woman in NHRA history when she won the Funny Car category at the Kansas Nationals in Topeka.
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) won their divisions.