Indy 500: Marco Andretti leads after Castronevesí pit problems on Lap 40
Polesitter Helio Castroneves had a few early problems, being unable to fire the car off the grid for several moments before finally peeling away to join the field. The race began without incident, but on Lap 12, a caution came out as the left rear view mirror of John Andretti’s No. 33 Camping World/Panther Racing Honda came off the car and landed on the track. The field then split to pit road as soon as it was open and Castroneves was able to take back the lead he had lost to front-row starter Tony Kanaan on the track. The green flag came back out at Lap 16.
Kanaan took the lead back on Lap 17, beating Castroneves down the front stretch and into Turn 1.† Meanwhile, in the pits, the right-rear tire changer for Al Unser Jr’s No. 50 car for A.J. Foyt Racing was caught by TV cameras being wheeled out on a stretcher. This is presumed to be a result of some sort of incident during the previous stops. ESPN reports that Larry Foyt, AJFR team manager, is now scrambing to find a replacement.
During the commercial break, Helio grabbed the lead back by passing Kanaan on the outside down the front stretch and into Turn 1 on Lap 26. He and Kanaan have traded the lead several times during the early stages and it really looks like a close battle between the two.
The leaders began to encounter lapped traffic at Lap 35. Two laps later, Chastain Motorsports’ Roberto Moreno crashed his No. 77 Panoz against the outside retaining wall in Turn 1 while trying to get out of the way of faster traffic. He climbed out of the car and appeared to be okay.
The leaders went into the pits immediately after the clean-up in Turn 1. Here’s how they came out:
1. Marco Andretti; 2. Scott Dixon; 3. Dan Wheldon; 4. Sam Hornish Jr.; 5. Tony Kanaan; 6. Tomas Scheckter; 7. Dario Franchitti; 8. Ed Carpenter; 9. Ryan Briscoe; 10. Danica Patrick.
Castroneves had several issues with his fuel hose during the stop, but is back out on the track. He is 29th as the race restarts at Lap 44.