Pagenaud wins 103rd Indianapolis 500

Simon Pagenaud (Getty Images)
Simon Pagenaud (Getty Images)

Indianapolis - France's Simon Pagenaud won the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, holding off Alexander Rossi in a fierce finishing duel to win America's fabled race for the first time.

Penske driver Pagenaud started from pole position and led 116 laps of the 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile oval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finishing in front of two former winners in Andretti Autosport's Rossi and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Takuma Sato of Japan.

Rossi, who won the 2017 Indy 500 as a rookie, held the lead after the final restart from caution of the race with 13 laps remaining.

Pagenaud quickly regained the lead, and they would trade it again before Pagenaud swept by on turn three of the penultimate lap on the way to a victory by 0.2086.

"It's hard to believe it right now to be honest," Pagenaud said after he had donned the winner's laurel wreath and doused himself with the bottle of milk traditionally given to the victor.

Pagenaud completed a May treble at the speedway after winning the IndyCar Indianapolis Grand Prix and putting his car on pole for the 500 last weekend.

But despite his dominance on Sunday, it looked like fuel could be a problem for him late.

That concern evaporated when the caution flag came out on the 177th lap after a crash between Graham Rahal and France's Sebastien Bourdais - which also took out three other cars.

The red flag came out to send all cars to pit lane as the track was cleared of debris and the stage was set for the duel to the finish.

"It's been such an intense race," Pagenaud said.

"I believe we led most of the race. The race car was just on rails. The yellows (flags) came out perfectly.

"Stars aligned," he said.

American Josef Newgarden was fourth and defending champ Will Power of Australia was fifth, despite a penalty for bumping a member of his pit crew in pit lane.

Results of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday:

1. Simon Pagenaud (FRA/Penske) 200 laps in 2hr 50min 39.2797sec (avg speed 175.79 mph, 282.91 km/h)

2. Alexander Rossi (USA/Andretti) at 0.2086sec

3. Takuma Sato (JPN/Rahal Letterman Lanigan) at 0.3413

4. Josef Newgarden (USA/Penske) at 0.8979

5. Will Power (AUS/Penske) at 1.6173

6. Ed Carpenter (USA/Ed Carpenter) at 1.9790

7. Santino Ferrucci (USA/Dale Coyne) at 2.8055

8. Ryan Hunter-Reay (USA/Andretti) at 4.0198

9. Tony Kanaan (BRA/A.J. Foyt) at 4.7708

10. Conor Daly (USA/Andretti) at 5.3459

11. James Hinchcliffe (CAN/Arrow Schmidt Peterson) at 5.4821

12. James Davison (NZL/Dale Coyne) at 6.2250

13. Ed Jones (UAE/Ed Carpenter) at 7.5500

14. Spencer Pigot (USA/Ed Carpenter) at 8.5566

15. Matheus Leist (BRA/A.J. Foyt) at 10.4153

16. Pippa Mann (GBR/Clauson Marshall) at 12.9803

17. Scott Dixon (NZL/Chip Ganassi) at 14.7595

18. Helio Castroneves (BRA/Penske) at 1 lap

19. Sage Karam (USA/Dreyer and Reinbold) same lap

20. JR Hildebrand (USA/Dreyer and Reinbold) s.l.

21. Jack Harvey (GBR/Meyer Shank) s.l.

22. Oriol Servia (ESP/MotoGator Stange) s.l.

23. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Arrow Schmidt Peterson) at 2 laps

24. Jordan King (GBR/Rahal Letterman Lanigan) s.l.

25. Charlie Kimball (USA/Carlin) at 4 laps

26. Marco Andretti (USA/Andretti) at 5 laps

27. Graham Rahal (USA/Rahal Letterman Lanigan) at 24 laps

28. Felix Rosenqvist (SWE/Chip Ganassi) at 24 laps

29. Zach Veach (USA/Andretti) at 24 laps

30. Sebastien Bourdais (FRA/Dale Coyne) at 24 laps

31. Kyle Kaiser (USA/Juncos) at 129 laps

32. Ben Hanley (USA/DragonSpeed) at 146 laps

33. Colton Herta (USA/Harding Steinbrenner) at 197 laps

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