After leading 116 of 200 laps, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud has won the Indianapolis 500. Pagenaud started the race in first, making him the first driver to win the race from pole since Helio Castroneves did so in 2009.
Pagenaud, though dominant, had to fight off late challenges from two past Indy 500 winners in Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato, both of whom completed an international podium.
Rossi led 22 laps in the race and seemingly had the next fastest car to Pagenaud for most of the race. Rossi and Pagenaud swapped the lead several times in the race’s closing stages before the Team Penske driver took the lead for the final time of the day with two laps to go.
Josef Newgarden, who also shared the lead late in the going finished fourth, while Will Power was fifth. Ed Carpenter, rookie Santino Ferrucci, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and Conor Daly rounded out the top-10 finishers.
A crash with just over 20 laps to go set up the thrilling finish. Graham Rahal and Sebastien Bourdais were battling hard for position in the top-10 when the two made contact. Bourdais threw a block, causing the American to hit his rear wheel. Both drivers were sent spinning into the outside wall. The melee ensued a second wreck behind them that collected Felix Rosenqvist, Zach Veach and Charlie Kimball.
Kyle Kaiser, one of the Cinderella Stories of Indy 500 qualifying, finished a disappointing 31st after an early crash.
Rookie Colton Herta went into the day as one of the favourites, starting from the fifth position, but gearbox issues on Lap 5 ended his day early. Herta finished 33rd and accumulated his fourth straight DNF.