Indy 500 – What Might Have Been?

Speedway, IN – What might have been?

What would the finish of the 500 have looked like had that yellow that locked- in Tony Kanaan’s win not flown? Would he have battled Carlos Munoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay for the win? Would there have been a different caution flag?

NASCAR might have had a green-white-checkered finish, but this was a popular yellow to say the least.

Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Munoz and Marco Andretti were setting up for a finish similar to the four-wide finish in the Freedom 100 on Friday, but as the green flag waved on lap 198 Kanaan dove to the inside and was in the lead by turn one. Munoz and RHR followed while Andretti was trapped in fourth.

Franchitti crashed behind them in in turn one and the race was over for all as the final caution waved.

Munoz, a rookie from Colombia who was doing a one-off Indy Car effort for Andretti Autosport, is likely to return to the AA Indy Lights car at Detroit.

“It’s racing,” he said about the final caution that took away a chance to catch TK. “You don’t know what could have been. I think I had a great car and a great shot to overtake Tony on the front straight. But you never know. He did a great job.

“The last flag, last yellow flag, I was a bit sad inside the car. I was not very happy. I prefer fighting for the win. Maybe (it would) work out, maybe not, but I would prefer a checkered flag race to see if I had a shot. In traffic my car was good.”

Munoz, 21, who never made a green flag pit stop until today, isn’t sure where his initial 500 success will take him, but seems optimistic about his future.

“Right now let’s wait what the future (will) work for me. Right now I’m thinking Indy Lights. I don’t know, maybe Michael (Andretti) have for anything. But right now I just still Indy Lights my main program.

“We’ll see what happens in the days to come.

“I have to be proud of me and no shame of nothing to be rookie, to be second. I think I did a good race.”

And as for Munoz AA teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 Indy Car champion, he seems to be happy to have finished third.

“The frustrating thing was we were quick enough,” Hunter-Reay said of the final restart. “I was leading by a bit of a margin there over TK or Marco. We had lapped traffic coming up. I thought, ‘This is great’ if we can get into lap traffic. Right as I was getting into the tow from the traffic the yellow (for Rahal) came out and the rest is history.

“When you’re up front leading, especially on a restart, you might as well be driving a bulldozer. Everybody comes by.

“I’m actually happy we got third. I figured with that restart, being first, we would be shuffled back to fourth or so.”

But racing isn’t always about the best car winning, and maybe that’s what happened to RHR today.

“You’ve got to have a lot of talent, and a lot of performance. There needs to be some luck in there, for sure. No bad luck. No good luck. I think that’s what we had today. We had no luck. We just ran up front and had a great car. Nothing happened out of the ordinary.

“You put yourself in that position to win. You’re leading with five laps to go. We’re sitting back on a restart. We would have been passing for the lead on the back straight, and I’ll tell you, had it gone green. . .”

But we’ll never know how that would have gone.

And what about that bulldozer affect he ran into?

“Right now you have a car that’s superior by two miles an hour, a mile and a half, which is a huge margin around this place, and he won’t be able to pull away from a car doing two mph slower than him just because it punches that big a hole in the air.

” I’m no engineer, and I don’t know the solution to that, but maybe the aero kits we are going for (next year), Indy Car announced (that) we’re going to be beating the track record again; we’re going to be flying around this place.”

And you can’t make a bulldozer fly, can you?

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