The Latest: Alonso back for another Indy 500? – Washington Post

The Latest on motorsport’s busiest day (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Fernando Alonso and McLaren might not be done with the Indy 500 just yet.

The two-time Formula One champion’s opportunity to win the race expired with his engine with 20 laps remaining. Alonso was hoping to add the second jewel to the Triple Crown, joining his victory at the Grand Prix of Monaco, and leave only the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

McLaren boss Zak Brown told The Associated Press that the Indy 500 “is something I’d like to see us do on a more regular basis.” The manufacturer returned to Indy this year after a long absence.

Would Alonso be behind the wheel? “’’We have to get through tonight,” Brown said, “but yeah, I’d like to see him back. … But our goal is to win Monaco next year with Fernando in the car.”

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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4 p.m.

Takuma Sato has won the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

The Japanese driver who wrecked on the final lap while dueling Dario Franchitti for the lead in 2012 held off Helio Castroneves over the final laps. He gave Andretti Autosport its second consecutive victory and third in the last four years.

Sato screamed into his radio as he slowed down the front stretch, his Honda engine still under power after three others let go while their drivers were near the front of the race.

Castroneves finished second, followed by Ed Jones, Max Chilton and Tony Kanaan.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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3:40 p.m.

Oriol Servia, James Hinchcliffe, James Davison and Will Power are out of the Indianapolis 500 after they were involved in a wreck on a restart with 17 laps to go.

Davison had spent time in the lead after jumping into the car for Sebastien Bourdais, who was hurt in a qualifying crash last weekend. Servia was also at the front late in the race.

Servia appeared to touch Davison from behind in the first corner and both of them slid up into the wall. Hinchcliffe and Power were caught up in the carnage behind them.

Josef Newgarden touched the inside wall with his left front tire while trying to avoid the damage, sliding up the track. But he appeared to avoid any significant contact.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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3:30 p.m.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso has blown his engine with 20 laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500, the third Honda to explode in the closing laps of the race.

The crowd went crazy for Alonso as he climbed out of his car.

Alonso, skipping the Monaco Grand Prix to run the race, had been fast all month and was near the front all afternoon. But as he tried to work toward the front late in the race, the Honda power that had been pushing for the lead finally let go.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Charlie Kimball also had Honda engines expire, making nine of them during practice, qualifying and the race on Sunday.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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3:25 p.m.

Make that two front-running Hondas that have blown up in the Indianapolis 500.

First, it was Ryan Hunter-Reay who was running near the front when his engine let go. Now, Charlie Kimball is out of the race after running in the top three with 33 laps remaining in the race.

That makes nine Honda engines that have expired during practice, qualifying and the race.

That also put James Davison in front, making him the record 15th race leader. Everyone went to the pits and Helio Castroneves was first off as he pursues his record-tying fourth career win.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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3 p.m.

Winds are picking up and skies are clouding up about three hours before the start of the Coca Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race.

Forecasts call for scattered thunderstorms through the area starting at 6 p.m. — the same time the green flag is scheduled to wave at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick and All-Star winner Kyle Busch will start up front. Series points leader Kyle Larson did not attempt a qualifying lap because of inspection issues and he’ll start 39th. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who’ll retire a full-time driver after this fall, begins 19th. Defending 600 champ Martin Truex Jr. will start from the eighth spot.

— Pete Iacobelli reporting from Concord, North Carolina

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2:55 p.m.

The trouble Honda has been experiencing all month has bitten Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Honda has been plagued by blown engines ever since teams switched from the road setups for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis to testing on the big oval. James Hinchcliffe’s engine blew on Carb Day and now Hunter-Reay’s engine has let go with 64 laps remaining.

Honda engines have had far more power than Chevrolet this month, but reliability has been a major problem. Hunter-Reay’s was the eighth Honda engine to blow in practice, qualifying and the race.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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2:40 p.m.

Buddy Lazier has made hard impact with Turn 2 at the Indianapolis 500.

The 1996 race winner lost his rear end coming into the corner and slid hard into the outside wall, wheels and debris spilling across the track. Will Power was following Lazier and his onboard camera showed Lazier slightly wiggling before the wreck.

Lazier climbed out of his car and was taken to a local hospital.

Lazier has been coming to the Indy 500 every year in his single-car effort, even though he hasn’t been competitive in years. It’s the lure of the place that keeps the former winner coming back.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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2:15 p.m.

Helio Castroneves was the leader at the midway point of the Indianapolis 500, using an alternate pit strategy along with the rest of his Chevy-powered Team Penske teammates.

He later led his 5,700th lap, moving him into fifth on IndyCar’s career list.

Castroneves pitted from the lead a few minutes later, sending Alexander Rossi back to the front. He was passed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, and when the former winner went into the pits, Graham Rahal moved into the lead. It was the 13th lead change, one off the Indy 500 record.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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2 p.m.

It’s been a parade for Andretti Autosport at the Indy 500.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was leading when a caution came out for debris with 119 laps to go. He was followed by teammates Alexander Rossi and Fernando Alonso with fellow teammate Takuma Sato in fifth.

The debris appeared to come off another teammate, Marco Andretti, who was running 10th.

Andretti Autosport has won two of the last three races with Hunter-Reay taking the 2014 edition and Rossi winning it as a rookie last season.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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1:45 p.m.

Conor Daly has brought out the second caution of the Indianapolis 500 when he crashed into the wall in Turn 3, and the aftermath of the impact also caught up Jack Harvey.

The incident on Lap 66 came shortly after Scott Dixon and Jay Howard were involved in a massive wreck that forced the race to be halted.

Daly was trying to go around Charlie Kimball on the outside when he touched wheels and shot up the track and into the wall. The debris that scattered behind him is what caught Harvey.

Helio Castroneves narrowly missed the Dixon wreck. He also slipped by Daly’s wreck unscathed.

Dixon’s wreck ended a long streak of caution-free racing that dated to last year’s race. There were no cautions in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis a couple weeks ago, and the yellow flag that flew when Dixon went airborne was the first of the Indy 500.

In all, IndyCar drivers ran 138 consecutive laps in race conditions without a single yellow.

— Michael Marot and Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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1:10 p.m.

Pole sitter Scott Dixon has been involved in a terrifying wreck and is out of the Indianapolis 500.

Dixon’s car struck the car of Jay Howard, who had slid into the outside wall and then careered back across the track.

Dixon’s car then catapulted toward the inside barrier, where it landed and split in half. Pieces of his car were left strewn across the track in Turn 2 as his car slid to a halt.

Dixon was already moving before his wreck car came to a stop. He got out of the car on his own power to a roar from the crowd and stepped into a waiting ambulance for a trip to the infield care center.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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1:05 p.m.

The first 100 miles of the Indianapolis 500 have been dominated by Andretti Autosport.

Defending race winner Alexander Rossi, Formula One star Fernando Alonso and team newcomer Takuma Sato are running away from the field through the first 40 laps. They have already started to pick away lapped traffic as they turn laps of 220 mph.

All three cars are powered by Honda, which has had more power than Chevrolet all month.

The three teammates have begun to jockey for the lead, not racing each other so much as sharing the time at the front. That’s allowing them all to extend their fuel economy.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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1 p.m.

The first round of pit stops at the Indy 500 left Indianapolis native Ed Carpenter in the front, followed by defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Formula One star Fernando Alonso.

Alonso took his first race lead moments later on Lap 37.

Two-time race winner Juan Pablo Montoya stalled his car when he reached pit road, costing him some valuable time. Jay Howard ran out of gas and had to nurse his car to the pits.

Zach Veach missed his pit box and was assessed a drive-thru penalty.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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12:40 p.m.

Tony Kanaan just surpassed the 4,000-lap led mark for his IndyCar career.

In his 20th season, the 2013 Indy 500 champion has roared to the front under cloudy skies and with a stiff breeze blowing off Turn 2. It’s the 13th time in 16 starts at Indianapolis that the Brazilian has led the race, tying four-time winner A.J. Foyt for the race record.

Now, the question is whether Kanaan’s engine can keep him there.

Kanaan is powered by a Honda engine for Chip Ganassi Racing, and there’s been a string of failures for the manufacturer the past few weeks. James Hinchcliffe’s engine was the latest to let go on Carb Day.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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12:30 p.m.

Fernando Alonso had no problems with a rolling start at the Indy 500.

The two-time Formula One champion said this week that he hadn’t made a rolling start in a race in 20 years, back when he was driving karts. But starting in the middle of the second row, Alonso took it easy on the traditional three-wide start under the famed Indianapolis pagoda.

He quickly dropped a few spots as the field got to speed, while Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi began jockeying for the lead ahead of him.

Kanaan was leading Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon after 10 laps.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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12:10 p.m.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is ready for his debut at the Indianapolis 500.

He tells ESPN it is one of the best moments ever to be at one of the world’s greatest races. He also noted that he’s at an experience disadvantage as an Indy 500 rookie.

Still, he was hopeful that the first few laps, first few restarts and first few cautions would help him settle in for a strong run.

“Hopefully I get up to speed as quick as I can,” he said in the final minutes before the green flag.

Alonso was starting fifth, the middle of Row 2.

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12:05 p.m.

Angela Brown gave a stirring rendition of “God Bless America” at the first Indy 500 since Florence Henderson died.

Henderson sang the song virtually every year for decades.

As a tribute to Henderson, she was recognized Saturday at the driver’s meeting and a brick with her name on it was placed inside speedway’s museum.

— Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis

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11:15 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen returned to the speedway for another Indy 500, a longtime family tradition.

“It is a global event,” Pence told ABC. “To be able to be here … is a real joy for us.”

The former Indiana governor left the race prediction to Karen, however, and she went with veteran Ed Carpenter.

“He’s a friend, a hometown boy — and he’s in the front row this year,” she said.

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10:15 a.m.

Sebastian Bourdais is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, as promised, he’s using crutches.

The Frenchman was involved in a terrifying wreck on qualifying weekend that left him with a fractured pelvis, hip and ribs. He had surgery hours after the accident, was released from Methodist Hospital on Wednesday and is already going through hours of daily rehabilitation .

“I’m feeling great to be here and out of the hospital atmosphere,” said Bourdais, who told The Associated Press on Saturday that he refused to show up in a wheel chair.

Bourdais still can’t put any weight on his right leg for five weeks, but he is targeting he season-ending race at Sonoma to get back in his car. James Davison will start in his place for Dale Coyne Racing on Sunday.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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10 a.m.

The red carpet is in full swing beneath the famed Pagoda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and as usual, it’s an eclectic bunch from the worlds of sports and entertainment.

Professional wrestler Ric Flair dutifully went “Wooooo!” for the crowd. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith stopped by to chat. “The Walking Dead” actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who will drive the pace car for the Indy 500, was a popular selfie choice along with his wife, “One Tree Hill” star Hilarie Burton.

Singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha signed autographs a few hours before she was due to sing the national anthem. Jake Gyllenhall was also hanging around to promote his upcoming movie about the Boston Marathon bombing, accompanied by Jeff Bauman, who authored the best-selling book that inspired the film.

Gyllenhall and Bauman were sharing honorary starter duties.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis

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3:47 p.m.

Sebastian Vettel beat his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen to win the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and comfortably extend his lead at the top of the standings.

It was the four-time F1 champion’s third win of the season and 45th of his career, as well as Ferrari’s first at Monaco since Michael Schumacher in 2001. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo finished third ahead of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.

Title rival Lewis Hamilton clawed his Mercedes through the field to finish a commendable seventh from 13th on the grid.

Raikkonen started from pole position for the first time in nine years, with Vettel joining him on the front row. Both made a clean start, with Vettel holding off Bottas heading into the first corner.

After Raikkonen and Bottas had both come in for a tire change a few laps earlier, Vettel timed his change to perfection 39 laps into the 78-lap race. When he came back out, he was in front of Raikkonen.

— Jerome Pugmire in Monaco

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3 p.m.

There has been a flurry of activity in the pit lane halfway through the Monaco Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas came in first to change the tires on his Mercedes, quickly followed by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. That left Sebastian Vettel in the lead from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, but Vettel also needed a new set of tires.

He timed his stop perfectly on lap 39 — exactly halfway — and came back out ahead of Raikkonen and into the race lead.

Ricciardo jumped ahead of Bottas, but Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen felt far from happy to be back in fifth and used an expletive over race radio.

French driver Esteban Ocon also blasted his team over radio after having to come in for a puncture repair on his Force India car.

— Jerome Pugmire in Monaco

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2:40 p.m.

Lewis Hamilton is making his way through the field and into the points at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The three-time F1 champion started back from 13th place on the grid after a surprisingly bad performance from his Mercedes in Saturday’s qualifying.

But the British driver has picked up three places and is up to 10th place after 30 laps of the 78-lap race.

Up ahead, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was closing in on second-placed Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen still leads as he chases his first win since the season-opening Australian GP in 2013.

— Jerome Pugmire in Monaco

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2:05 p.m.

British driver Jenson Button got a surprise message on the radio just as he was preparing to start the Monaco Grand Prix.

It was from Fernando Alonso, who skipped this year’s Formula One race to run in the Indianapolis 500.

Button came out of retirement for this race to fill in for Alonso. The exchange went like this.

Alonso: “I am sure you don’t want to hear my voice before you start but I just want to say good luck and I will be watching you here.”

“Thanks mate!” Button replied. “I am going to pee in your seat!”

Said Alonso: “Please don’t do that!”

Monaco’s tight 3.4-kilometer (2.1-mile) course is the hardest in F1 to pass competitors.

— Jerome Pugmire in Monaco

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Noon

One of the busiest days in motorsports has arrived.

The Formula One series kicks things off with the Monaco Grand Prix. Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel holds a slender six-point lead on three-time champion Lewis Hamilton. They have two wins each, but Vettel’s Ferrari looks much quicker than it did last year while Hamilton’s Mercedes is not as dominant. Vettel starts the race on the front row alongside teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Indianapolis 500 is next, with a special guest this year. All eyes will be on two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso as the Spaniard makes a one-off debut. He qualified in fifth place for the biggest race on the IndyCar calendar. Scott Dixon is on the pole for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

NASCAR wraps things up Sunday night with one of its biggest races of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kevin Harvick is on the pole.

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