American Ryan Hunter-Reay won a thrilling Indy 500 as Australian Ryan Briscoe was left fuming after a late collision with compatriot Will Power.
Australia’s quest for a breakthrough Indianapolis 500 win has ended in acrimony with Ryan Briscoe accusing compatriot Will Power of ruining his race after a late collision between the pair.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver had fought his way from a lowly starting position of 30th to be in the top 10 of the 500-mile epic with seven laps remaining.
But in what Briscoe would label a “stupid” move, the Australian duo came together as they battled for position which left him with a broken front wing and eventually an 18th-place finish in the biggest day of American motorsport.
American Ryan Hunter-Reay claimed the win, pipping three-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves by just 0.0600 of a second in the second-closest finish in the 113-year history of the event.
Hunter-Reay’s win thrilled the crowd as he became the first American winner of the race since Sam Hornish Jr in 2006.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said.
“This is American history. It’s where drivers are made; where history is made.”
Hunter-Reay’s delight couldn’t have been in starker contrast to Briscoe, who was simply livid with Power’s aggressive blocking manoeuvre.
“I got a run on Power and he just completely drove me to the grass and chopped me and broke my front wing,” Briscoe said.
“It was dangerous driving, and I just can’t believe he didn’t get a penalty or anything. It was just absolutely stupid driving on his part and ruined our race after we did such a good job.
“We got it right up there to eighth at the final restart. Then Power – a dumb move killed our race. It’s disappointing, a top 10 would have been good for the boys today.”
Power was hoping to become the first Australian to win the prestige race after he started the day third on the grid and in the front row.
After leading the race for 22 laps, the 33-year-old was forced to take a drive-through penalty for a pit lane speeding infraction on lap 130 which effectively put him out of contention.
That error, and not his collision with Briscoe, was on Power’s mind after the race.
“We just screwed ourselves,” he said.
“A bloody speeding in pit lane penalty just ruined our day. Otherwise, we would have been in great shape.”
Hunter-Reay takes over the championship lead from Power, who is 40 points behind the 2012 series champion going into next weekend’s event in Detroit.
Melbourne’s James Davison, driving his first Indianapolis 500, managed to avoid plenty of drama and ended the day 16th.
It was a solid result for the 27-year-old, who had run a limited program due to budget constraints and started the day from 28th on the 33-car grid.
“My goal was to finish in the top 15,” Davison said.
“We finished one spot behind that.
“I’m just really proud of the whole team. They did a fantastic job for me and we all punched above our weight with what time we had to get up to speed. So, bring on next year.”