Speedway, Indiana 2021 marked the Majors Series Ninth Indy 500, and in all 202 drivers competed in six splits.
Although there were plenty of cautions (13 cautions on average), only one of the six race ENDED under caution. In a stat of mind blowing proportions, the race that ended under yellow was only the 5th closest finish at the line! The six races had a margin of victory of just 1.077 seconds... COMBINED!! That, is unreal.
International International Pro / Sport had the most cautions with 20, but most of those were in the first half of the race, when the dust settled the two championship protagonists dueled to the end and Cam Dance just edged Thomas Hinss by .003 seconds which was TIED for the closest finish (get the hell outta town). Cam ended his "losing streak" at ONE and now has five victories on the year (9 all time). In sportsman, Julian Mukhi grabbed his first Majors Series win by finishing 5th in the combined Pro / Sport split.
European Euro Pro had the 2nd most cautions with 18 and also ended under yellow. That said, the race was a heavy weight battle of Indycar Pros all day. Henry Bennett would lead a race high 58 laps before getting swarmed on the final restart and coming home 3rd. Series veteran Riley Thompson kept it clean and was in the mix all race, but he too would get shuffled to 5th in the closing moments. Pete Harrod stayed out of trouble and was opportunistic at the end coming home 4th and in doing so, closed the gap on Tim Claessens to just 2 pts for the Championship. In the end, Tim Matzke would just nose ahead of Thomas Geissler as the yellow light was illuminated, sealing the deal and winning him the Indy 500.
European Sport closed out the race with a long green flag run, (too long for some) and the fuel game didn't go their way. One by one drivers stopped for gas or made an untimely mistake and this all paved the way for Adam Facciponti to claim another victory over Thomas Peterson.
So far this season Evolv and Forge have been going at it hammer and tongs, in fact the last two races they have literally scored the same points and remain separated by just 6 points on the season. I mention that because in the Indy 500 a different team grabbed the spotlight. Defending team champions Kinetic, locked out the TOP 6 spots in the race (three from team 1 and 3 from team 2) . Even more impressive??? Christian Challiner was not among those six.
The team race has now expanded to three strong as the defenders aren't letting go so easy.
As for the Individual results, Americas Pro was also decided by just .003 seconds with Josh Chin taking his maiden victory in the series, just edging out Jason Brophy. Everyone in the top 5 would cross the line within one second, and 3rd thru 5th were; Andrew Z Wood, Austin Espitee and Liam Quinn.
Americas Sport 1 had perhaps the craziest finishing sequences I have ever seen. A caution came out with 36 laps to go, everyone came down the lane to pack it full, knowing that even just one more caution would be enough to get them home. Ernie Ludwig had a hunch, and took a chance... with 34 laps to go while still under caution, Ludwig decided to come down the lane again and top off the tank.
Fast forward 32 laps and all the other lead lap cars were forced down pit lane, leaving just Ernie and his right foot to try and ease his way home. Those last laps he dialed it back and he dialed it back some more, but it just wasn't enough as he ran dry coming out of four allowing Michael Chinn and Bryson Schutte to catch him, but the drama wasn't over as both Chinn and Schutte had to squeeze between Ludwig and a lapped car to make it to the finish.
Finally, Americas Sport 2, claimed the honor of fewest cautions with only SIX all day. The long green flag runs would separate the field and only two drivers would finish on the lead lap, with Christopher Hickman leading a mammoth 171 laps while holding off Rodger Schank for the victory. Don Dolson would complete the podium as the only car 1 lap down.
Next up... Le Mans for the 100th Race in the Majors history!