He led for the first time on Lap 98 and led at halfway point of the race.
“Once I figured it out, the IZOD Chevy was just a missile,” Allmendinger said. “It was almost too easy at times just to go by the guys. It was probably the coolest feeling in my life to take the lead at Indy and lead the Indy 500. That’s a feeling I’ll never forget.”
The Los Gatos, Calif. native led 23 laps on the day and while leading he literally almost came out of his seat.
“I went down into Turn 1, it was 130 laps in, so it wasn’t like they were loose or anything and it just popped out,” Allmendinger said of his safety belt. “Maybe it was because my heart was beating too hard from leading the race, but it came undone.”
The crew fixed the loose right belt crotch on a pit stop but it knocked the team off the same pit sequence as the rest of the leaders.
Allmendinger bounced back up front and led with 35 laps to go. He was a top contender but the team’s final pit stop was just a tad longer because of the extra fuel his car needed.
“That last stop, we barely got into our pit window,” Allmendinger said. “The pit stop was long just for the mere fact we had to get it completely full of fuel while all of those guys had a little bit shorter stops.”
Vautier, from France, completed all 200 laps in the No. 55 Lucas Oil/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. While never contending for the win, it was a steady showing in the 23-year-old’s IndyCar debut at IMS.
“I finished my first Indy 500 so I’m very happy,” Vautier said. “Big thanks to my team. All of the pit stops were perfect.”
Noblesville native Daly finished his first Indy 500 two laps down but battled through adversity. The 21-year-old lost his rear brakes on the first pit stop but fought to finish 22nd, nine positions better than his starting position.
“After catching on fire twice and having no rear brakes, I think we did OK,” Daly said. “This race is awesome. To finish 22nd after starting 31st, I’m pretty happy with that.”