Indianapolis 500 held on Sunday

The 200-lap open-wheeled spectacle was one of the best reviewed in the sport’s history.

Gabe Jenceleski, Student Writer



The 103rd running of the acclaimed Indianapolis 500 was held on Sunday, May 26th, as is a tradition for the Memorial Day weekend event; the culmination of a full-year season of Indy-Car racing across the United States, and the world.

The race was already marred by a unique controversy that occurred nearly a week prior, as during the qualifying sessions on May 20th, two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso failed to make average speed to qualify for the Indy 500. This global-headline event helped elevate the already ceremonious status of the race even further, as now a new, heavily hyperbolized bar had been set for drivers that did qualify to participate in the race. At the end of the 200-lap race around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was Frenchman and former Indy-car Series champion Simon Pagenaud who took victory, after a tumultuous duel for the position with 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, and 2017 winner Takuma Sato.

The race itself saw its first ever broadcast on NBC, and NBC Sports, and reported record viewership ratings, which included nearly 5% of all American Households. The race, of course, was not without its dangers or moments of chaos between drivers, as several significant crashes and illegal procedure violations brought out caution periods and penalties for certain teams. Notable among these was Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan driver Jordan King, who collided with one of his crew mechanics after making an unsafe entry into the pit box. On track,  Dale-Coyne Racing driver Sebastian Bordais and Graham Rahal of the aforementioned team saw a significant incident, which expanded to include five other cars in their tumultuous crash.

Pagenaud’s victory marked the final resurgent achievement for the Frenchman, as after a relatively fruitless 2018 season had left his career in question, his victory at May 11th’s Indy Grand Prix helped elevate his own reputation back to form with his Team, Penske, which is currently leading the championship standings ahead of competitors Andretti Autosport, and Chip Ganassi Racing. Pagenaud is also only the 10th driver to win the race from Pole-Position, a feat he conquered last weekend during the final qualifying sessions before the race week began.

Despite not driving into victory circle at the famed Brickyard Speedway, Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato have reaffirmed their relevance to the championship hunt, now running in third and fourth in the driver standings respectively.

The NTT Data Indy-Car series will return next weekend on June 1st, with a double-header event in Detroit. All eyes will be on the now famed French futurist Simon Pagenaud and his fierce competition.