Alexander Rossi, rookie racing for Andretti Autosport, wheeled his way to victory lane on fumes in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The California native held over a four-second lead ahead of teammate Carlos Munoz as he crossed the finish line for his first Verizon IndyCar Series victory.
Rossi gambled by staying out while the leaders, including Munoz, pitted in the final laps. He radioed to his crew shortly after that he was out of fuel and needed to be towed to victory lane.
“I have no idea how we pulled that off.” Rossi said, “We struggled a little bit with the pit stops, but Bryan [Herta] came up with that unbelievable strategy.
Sunday’s victory is Rossi’s first in five races. The 24-year old American racer is a former F1 driver and the first rookie in 15 years to win the event.
“I didn’t know (if he had enough fuel on the closing laps),” Rossi said. “Ryan (Hunter-Reay) was giving me a tow at the end. I’m just thankful to do this on the 100th running.”
Last year’s winner Juan Pablo Montoya finished 33rd after an early crash on lap 64 sent him into the outside wall and ended his day.
A collision on pitroad took out two of the racers top contenders. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell combined to lead a total of 64 laps, but were no longer a factor after contact with Helio Castroneves also sent Bell into Hunter-Reay.