“I started to check everything in my car,” Kanaan said, who led 34 laps. “Do we have enough fuel, have four wheels? You kind of go crazy. The pace car guy, whoever was on the side, this guy is actually celebrating. I’m like, ‘Go, can you go quicker? It’s going to be a long lap if you keep doing that.’ “
The race-ending wreck was one of very few times that drivers and fans could catch their breath during the fastest Indianapolis 500 in history. The average speed of the race was 187.433 mph, beating out the previous record of 185.981 set in 1990 by Arie Luyendyk.
Also adding to the record books was an incredible 68 lead changes, doubling the previous record set in 2012 of 34. Passes for lead nearly happened every three laps.
“It was a chess game,” Kanaan said. “It’s funny enough because I don’t know how to play chess.”
A record 14 different drivers led the race, including seven who led 12 laps or more.
Rookie Carlos Munoz finished second and was joined by Andretti Autosport teammate and defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in third.
Munoz, who started second and is the Indy Lights points leader, is the likely Rookie of the Year for his performance.
“The car was awesome from the first lap to the last lap,” Munoz said. “I have to be proud of me and no shame of nothing, to be rookie, to be second. I think I did a great race.”
The restart with three laps to go was setup after a Graham Rahal wreck exiting Turn 2 on Lap 194. Hunter-Reay was the leader with Kanaan and Munoz directly behind.
With so many changing at the head of the field, the lead car was never safe.
“When you’re up front leading, especially on a restart, you might as well be driving a bulldozer,” Hunter-Reay said. “Everybody come on by.