2000 Indianapolis 500

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84th Indianapolis 500
Indy500winningcar2000.JPG
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body Indy Racing League
Season 2000 IRL season
Date May 28, 2000
Winner Juan Pablo Montoya
Winning team Chip Ganassi Racing
Average speed 167.607 mph (269.737 km/h)
Pole position Greg Ray
Pole speed 223.471 mph (359.642 km/h)
Fastest qualifier Greg Ray
Rookie of the Year Juan Pablo Montoya
Most laps led Juan Pablo Montoya (167)
Pre-race ceremonies
National anthem Jessica Andrews
"Back Home Again in Indiana" Jim Nabors
Starting Command Mari George
Pace car Oldsmobile Aurora
Pace car driver Anthony Edwards
Honorary starter Howard Katz (ABC Sports)
Attendance 250,000 (estimated)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Bob Jenkins, Tom Sneva, Arie Luyendyk
Nielsen Ratings 5.5 / 15
Chronology
Previous Next
1999 2001

The 84th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 28, 2000. After four years of an ongoing organizational dispute and "split" in Indy car racing,[1] Chip Ganassi Racing, a CART-based team, became the first team to cross the proverbial "picket line." They arrived to compete in the Indianapolis 500 as a one-off entry which was sanctioned by the rival IRL.[2] The Ganassi team of Jimmy Vasser and Juan Pablo Montoya were well received by fans and competitors,[1] and were quickly up to speed with the IRL regulars. Also making a heralded return to Indy was two-time winner Al Unser, Jr.[1] who had switched full-time to the IRL.

During qualifying, defending IRL champion Greg Ray took the pole position. However, on race day, reigning CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya dominated the race.[2] Montoya led 167 laps, and cruised to victory, becoming the first rookie winner since Graham Hill in 1966.[3][4]

The 2000 race was the first to feature two female starters in the field, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher. The start of the race was delayed over three hours due to rain. The green flag dropped at 2:10 p.m. EST, and the race was completed shortly after 5 p.m. Seven minutes after the checkered flag, the rain returned, and doused the victory lane celebration.

The first 65 laps of the race were run under green flag conditions, a new Indy 500 record at the time. Montoya became only the fourth winner to complete the race in under three hours, and at 167.607 mph, it was the fastest Indy 500 since 1991. At the end of the season, Montoya promptly departed Indy car racing for Formula One, then went to NASCAR. He would not return for his second Indy start until 2014.[5]

The race was sanctioned by the Indy Racing League, and was part of the 2000 Indy Racing Northern Lights Series season.

Race schedule[edit]

Race schedule — April 2000
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
ROP
8
ROP
9
ROP/Testing
10
ROP/Testing
11
ROP/Testing
12
ROP/Testing
13
 
14
 
15
 
Race schedule — May 2000
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
Practice
14
Practice
15
Practice
16
Practice
17
Practice
18
Practice
19
Practice
20
Pole Day
21
Bump Day
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
Carb Day
26
 
27
Parade
28
Indy 500
29
Memorial Day
30
 
31
 
     
Color Notes
Green Practice
Dark Blue Time trials
Silver Race day
Red Rained out
Blank No track activity

* Includes days where track activity
was significantly limited due to rain

ROP — denotes Rookie Orientation Program

Time trials[edit]

Time trials were scheduled for two days in 2000, May 20–21. During practice, IRL regulars generally topped the speed charts, with different names leading nearly each day. Jimmy Vasser and Juan Pablo Montoya were quickly up to speed in the IRL machines, and each managed to lead one day of practice. Both were considered contenders for the front row. Greg Ray (223.948 mph) set the fastest lap of the week on "Fast Friday."

Pole day - Saturday May 20[edit]

Pole qualifying began at 11 a.m. The weather was cool and cloudy. Al Unser, Jr. (220.293 mph) was the first car in the field. At 12:07 p.m., Eliseo Salazar took over the top spot with a run of 223.231 mph. Salazar remained on top for over an hour, as most cars waved off, awaiting better conditions.

At 1:19 p.m., Juan Pablo Montoya took to the track. His run of 223.372 mph took over the provisional pole position. Greg Ray pulled his car out of line due to handling issues, and Team Menard announced they would go out later. Jimmy Vasser went out next, and at 221.976 mph, he was not able to join his Gansssi teammate on the front row.

Later in the day, conditions improved slightly, and several cars returned to the track. At 3:49 p.m., Greg Ray completed his run at 223.471 mph, and secured the pole position. The front row of Ray, Montoya, and Salazar was separated by only 0.173 second, the closest such margin in Indy history. The front row shaped up such that the reigning champions of IRL (Ray) and CART (Montoya) would line up 1st-2nd.

A total of 23 cars qualified for the field. Lyn St. James wrecked on her first attempt, flipping the car up on its side in the south chute. Also into the wall was veteran Hideshi Matsuda. Neither driver was injured.

Sarah Fisher (220.237 mph) qualified 19th, becoming the third female driver in Indy history.

Bump day - Sunday May 21[edit]

The final day of time trials opened with 10 spots remaining. Raul Boesel was the first car out, and at 222.113 mph, he would be the fastest driver of the afternoon. After two wave offs on Saturday, Billy Boat wrecked on his first attempt on Sunday. He would be forced to find a back up car.

The field was filled to 33 cars by 5:50 p.m. Among the drivers who completed attempts were Jimmy Kite, Davey Hamilton, and popular hometown rookie Andy Hillenburg. Independent driver and co-owner Hillenburg was fielding a "throwback" entry named the Sumar Special, a gesture to the car driven by Pat O'Connor which won the pole position in 1957.

Billy Boat secured a backup car with Foyt, but the car (#41, previously driven by Roberto Guerrero) only had one attempt left. After stalling three times trying to pull away, Boat's first two laps were fair. The car stalled on the third lap,[6] and his speed dropped to 150 mph. It picked up for the final lap, and he ran a lap of 198 mph. His four lap average was 192.105 mph, by far the slowest car in the field, and he was the first car on the bubble.

Lyn St. James and Dick Simon Racing reorganized after Saturday's crash, and she qualified comfortably, bumping Boat with 25 minutes left in the day. With less than a minute left in the day, Billy Boat climbed into another Foyt backup, (#11) a car that had not been driven run all week. Boat managed a run of 218.872 mph out of the unproven machine, bumping his way into the field as time expired.

Davy Jones attempted a comeback after breaking his neck in 1997, but he was bumped.[6]

Starting grid[edit]

Row Inside Middle Outside
1 United States Greg Ray Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya (R) Chile Eliseo Salazar
2 United States Robby Gordon United States Scott Sharp United States Jeff Ward
3 United States Jimmy Vasser United States Stan Wattles United States Robby Buhl
4 United States Eddie Cheever, Jr. (W) United States Mark Dismore United States Robby McGehee
5 Canada Scott Goodyear United States Sam Hornish, Jr. (R) United States Donnie Beechler
6 United States Buddy Lazier (W) United States Jason Leffler (R) United States Al Unser Jr. (W)
7 United States Sarah Fisher (R) France Stephan Gregoire Brazil Airton Daré (R)
8 United States Buzz Calkins United States Richie Hearn Brazil Raul Boesel
9 United States Jimmy Kite United States Jaques Lazier (R) United States Steve Knapp
10 United States Davey Hamilton United States Jeret Schroeder United States Johnny Unser
11 United States Billy Boat United States Lyn St. James United States Andy Hillenburg (R)

Alternates[edit]

Failed to qualify[edit]

Race recap[edit]

Pre-race and rain delay[edit]

On Saturday May 27, the day before the Indy 500, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jimmy Vasser participated in the CART Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at Nazareth Speedway. The race had been scheduled for April 11, but snow postponed it until the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Montoya finished 4th, and Vasser 7th.

Jason Leffler, who qualified 17th at Indy, traveled to Charlotte on Saturday to participate in the NASCAR Busch Series Carquest Auto Parts 300. Leffler finished 21st at Charlotte. Also in Charlotte for part of the week was Robby Gordon, who was preparing to attempt the Indy 500/Coca-Cola 600 "Double Duty." Gordon required a provisional starting position for Charlotte, and he would line up 42nd. P. J. Jones was scheduled to stand by for Gordon at Charlotte if he could not make it in time for the start.

On race day, Sunday May 28, the morning dawned warm and sunny, but rain was in the forecast. At 10:07 a.m., rain started to fall, and the start of the race was delayed. After three brief periods of showers, the rain stopped for good at approximately 12:40 p.m., and track-drying efforts began. At 2:01 p.m. EST, Mari Hulman George gave the command to start engines, and the field pulled away.

First half[edit]

At the start, polesitter Greg Ray took the lead. Juan Pablo Montoya settled into second, and Robby Gordon third. A fast pace over the first 20 laps saw Ray dominate, with Montoya aggressively dicing through traffic, holding a close second place.

On lap 27, the leaders went four-wide through traffic, and Montoya took the lead for the first time. A few laps later, all the leaders were into the pits for the first round of green flag pit stops. On lap 33 Montoya emerged with the lead, and began to flex some strength. His lead grew from 11.9 seconds on lap 34 to over 21 seconds on lap 55.

A blistering pace over the first 60 laps saw thus far zero yellow flags. The average speed at lap 60 (150 miles) was an all-time record 207.101 mph. Montoya held a 30-second lead over second place Jimmy Vasser. On lap 66, however, Greg Ray became caught up in a wind gust, and his car pushed into the outside wall exiting turn two. Al Unser, Jr. hit a piece of debris, and punctured the radiator, causing him to drop out. It was the first caution of the day, setting a new modern era Indy record (66 laps) before the first yellow.

Montoya now lead Robby Gordon and Buddy Lazier. After the restart, however, Lyn St. James crashed into the outside wall in turn 1. Sarah Fisher was collected in the incident, and also crashed.

At the halfway point, Montoya still led. Vasser was second, about 5 seconds behind.

Second half[edit]

In the second half Juan Pablo Montoya continued to dominate. His teammate Jimmy Vasser, however, started to drop down the top ten. Buddy Lazier and Jeff Ward were now in the top three, all chasing Montoya.

On lap 143, Greg Ray returned to the track after lengthy repairs. His return did not last long, as he smacked the outside wall in turn two - close to the same place he crashed earlier - and he was finally out of the race. Ray became the fourth polesitter (Woodbury, Carter, and Guerrero) to finish last.

The green came back out on lap 150, with Montoya first and Lazier close behind in second. Rookie Sam Hornish, Jr. crashed on lap 158, but most of the leaders did not pit. On the restart on lap 162, Lazier made a run for the lead in turn one, but Montoya held him off.

Finish[edit]

Stan Wattles brought out the final yellow flag on lap 174 for a blown engine. Montoya and Lazier pitted, which allowed Jimmy Vasser to take over the lead. The green came out with 23 laps to go.

Vasser's lead did not last long, as Montoya got by him on lap 180. Lazier caught up to Vasser and passed him for second. Lazier set his sights on the lead. Lazier set the fastest lap of the race (218.494 mph) on lap 198, but Montoya was too far ahead. Montoya pulled away and won the Indianapolis 500 in his first (and only) start by 7.1839 seconds over 1996 winner Buddy Lazier.

Box score[edit]

Finish Start No Name Qual Rank C E Laps Status Entrant
1 2 9 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya (R) 223.372 2 G O 200 Running Chip Ganassi Racing
2 16 91 United States Buddy Lazier (W) 220.480 19 D O 200 Running Hemelgarn Racing
3 3 11 Chile Eliseo Salazar 223.231 3 G O 200 Running A.J. Foyt Enterprises
4 6 14 United States Jeff Ward 222.639 6 G O 200 Running A.J. Foyt Enterprises
5 10 51 United States Eddie Cheever (W) 221.269 11 D I 200 Running Team Cheever
6 4 32 United States Robby Gordon 222.885 4 D O 200 Running Team Menard
7 7 10 United States Jimmy Vasser 221.974 8 G O 199 Running Chip Ganassi Racing
8 20 7 France Stéphane Grégoire 219.969 24 G O 199 Running Dick Simon Racing
9 13 4 Canada Scott Goodyear 220.631 16 D O 199 Running Panther Racing
10 5 8 United States Scott Sharp 222.808 5 D O 198 Running Kelley Racing
11 11 28 United States Mark Dismore 220.968 12 D O 198 Running Kelley Racing
12 15 98 United States Donnie Beechler 220.483 18 D O 198 Running Cahill Racing
13 26 33 United States Jaques Lazier (R) 220.673 14 G O 198 Running Truscelli Racing Team
14 29 6 United States Jeret Schroeder 219.322 29 D O 198 Running Tri-Star Motorsports
15 31 41 United States Billy Boat 218.872 31 G O 198 Running A.J. Foyt Enterprises
16 24 55 Brazil Raul Boesel 222.112 7 G O 197 Running Treadway-Vertex Cunningham Racing
17 17 50 United States Jason Leffler (R) 220.417 20 G O 197 Running Treadway Racing
18 22 12 United States Buzz Calkins 219.862 27 D O 194 Running Bradley Motorsports
19 27 23 United States Steve Knapp 220.290 22 G I 193 Running Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
20 28 16 United States Davey Hamilton 219.879 26 G I 188 Running TeamXtreme
21 12 5 United States Robby McGehee 220.660 15 G O 187 Running Treadway Racing
22 30 22 United States Johnny Unser 219.068 30 G O 186 Running Indy Regency Racing
23 8 92 United States Stan Wattles 221.510 9 D O 172 Engine Hemelgarn Racing
24 14 18 United States Sam Hornish, Jr. (R) 220.495 17 D O 153 Accident PDM Racing
25 21 88 Brazil Airton Daré (R) 219.969 25 G O 126 Engine TeamXtreme
26 9 24 United States Robbie Buhl 221.357 10 G O 99 Engine Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
27 23 75 United States Richie Hearn 219.815 28 D O 97 Electrical Pagan Racing
28 33 48 United States Andy Hillenburg (R) 218.286 33 D O 91 Wheel Bearing Fast Track Racing Enterprises
29 18 3 United States Al Unser, Jr. (W) 220.292 21 G O 89 Over Heating Galles Racing
30 25 27 United States Jimmy Kite 220.717 13 G O 74 Engine Blueprint Racing
31 19 15 United States Sarah Fisher (R) 220.237 23 D O 71 Accident Walker Racing
32 32 90 United States Lyn St. James 218.826 32 G O 69 Accident Dick Simon Racing
33 1 1 United States Greg Ray 223.471 1 D O 67 Accident Team Menard

(W) = former Indianapolis 500 winner; (R) = Indianapolis 500 rookie

*C Chassis: D=Dallara, G=G-Force

*E Engine: I=Infiniti, O=Oldsmobile

All entrants utilized Firestone tires.

Legacy[edit]

After the 2000 CART season, Juan Pablo Montoya signed with Williams, and thus did not return for another attempt at the Indy 500. Later, Montoya switched to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and did not race again in the Indianapolis 500 until 2014. He has also raced in the U.S. Grand Prix, Brickyard 400, and Brickyard Grand Prix, all held at IMS.

The 2000 Indy 500 marked a turning point in the ongoing, five-year "split" between IRL and CART. While neither side was prepared to make concessions towards a unification or buyout, it became evident that sponsors in the CART series desired to have their teams participate in the Indianapolis 500 to benefit from the increased exposure. Ganassi's arrival, and subsequent domination of the event led other CART-based teams to follow suit. The following year additional teams (namely Penske and Team Green) returned to Indianapolis as well. By 2004, nearly all of the major teams from CART/Champ Car had either entered singly at Indy, or defected completely to the Indy Racing League. Despite these moves, a formal unification would not take place until 2008.

CART-based Walker Racing also "crossed picket lines" to enter the race, but received little publicity for doing so. The attention for Walker was instead focused on their driver, rookie Sarah Fisher,[1] who would become a popular fixture in the IRL in the years to come.

Statistics[edit]

Juan Pablo Montoya won the race from the 2nd starting position. It was the first time a driver had won from the middle of the front row since Mario Andretti in 1969. From 1911-1969, the second starting position statistically produced the most race winners (10 total), more so than even the pole position (which had produced only 7 winners at that time), a reflection of the Andretti curse. Montoya broke a 30-year streak of losses by the second starting position, including many years where the no. 2 starter failed to even finish the race. As of 2014, the second starting position has not produced any additional race winners.

Second place finisher Buddy Lazier (the 1996 winner) was the only car towards the end of the race that was in striking distance of Montoya, but a combination of slower pit stops[2][7] and difficulties in traffic,[2] thwarted any chance of victory. It was Lazier's second runner-up finish in three years, and fifth straight finish in the top 7. Lazier, however, would go on to win the 2000 IRL championship.

Greg Ray (67 laps) fell just seven laps short of breaking Bill Homeier's record of 74 laps for the last place finisher.

With Goodyear announcing in October 1999 that it was leaving the sport of open wheel racing indefinitely, the Speedway lost one of its fixtures in 2000. The Goodyear Blimp had flown over the Indy 500 in most years from 1925-1999, but was absent in 2000, in what was believed to be the first time in decades.

Broadcasting[edit]

Radio[edit]

The race was carried live on the Indy Racing Radio Network. Mike King served as chief announcer. The broadcast was moved into a brand new studio on the 9th floor of the newly completed Pagoda control tower.

Several minor changes were made to the crew. Ken Double worked his final 500 on the network. Mark Jaynes moved from the pits to take over the turn three location vacated by one-year member Kevin O'Neal. Larry Rice and Mike Lewis joined the crew as a pit reporter. Vince Welch, formerly a pit reporter, left the crew and eventually would join ABC television.

Bob Lamey who joined the crew in 1989, and had become a fixture in turn 4, would be on the crew for the final time in 2000.

Indy Racing Radio Network
Booth Announcers Turn Reporters Pit/garage reporters

Chief Announcer: Mike King
Driver expert: Johnny Rutherford
Statistician: Howdy Bell
Historian: Donald Davidson
Commentary: Chris Economaki

Turn 1: Jerry Baker
Turn 2: Ken Double
Turn 3: Mark Jaynes
Turn 4: Bob Lamey

Mike Lewis (north pits)
Chris Denari (center pits)
Larry Rice (south pits)
Chuck Marlowe (garages)

Television[edit]

The race was carried live flag-to-flag coverage in the United States on ABC Sports. Al Michaels returned as host, with Bob Jenkins as announcer. Arie Luyendyk, who had announced his first retirement, joined the broadcast as analyst, alongside Tom Sneva.

After a one-year absence, Jack Arute returned as a pit reporter, and Leslie Gudel was added as a fourth pit reporter. Back in the ABC studios, Robin Roberts had a small role as Wide World of Sports studio host.

ABC Television
Booth Announcers Pit/garage reporters

Host: Al Michaels
Announcer: Bob Jenkins
Color: Tom Sneva
Color: Arie Luyendyk

Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
Dr. Jerry Punch
Leslie Gudel

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Shot in the arm: Ganassi, Unser providing old excitement at Indy". Sports Illustrated. 2000-05-28. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d "CART's revenge: Montoya pulls away from Lazier for Indy 500 win". Sports Illustrated. 2000-05-29. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  3. ^ Robbins, Liz (2000-05-29). "AUTO RACING; Montoya's Got Milk And Victory In Indy 500". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  4. ^ Harris, Mike (2000-05-30). "Montoya makes it look easy". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  5. ^ "Juan Pablo Montoya joins Penske". ESPN. 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  6. ^ a b Glick, Shav (2000-05-22). "Qualifying Turns Into a Boat Race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  7. ^ Callahan, Terry (2000-05-30). "Quick work in the pits pivotal in Montoya's victory". The Auto Channel. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 

Works cited[edit]


1999 Indianapolis 500
Kenny Bräck
2000 Indianapolis 500
Juan Pablo Montoya
2001 Indianapolis 500
Hélio Castroneves