Helio Castroneves' victory marked his first win of 2021, the 31st of his Indy car career and his fourth Indianapolis 500 win. He earned his frist three Indy 500 victories in 2001, 2002 and 2009 — all with Team Penske.
Driving for Meyer Shank Racing this year, Castroneves delivered the team's first IndyCar victory. He became the first Indy 500 victor to win for Team Pesnke and win again for another team.
Castroneves joined A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991) as the only four-time winners of the Indy 500.
At 46 years and 20 days old, Castroneves became the fourth-oldest "500" winner behind Al Unser (47 years, 360 days), Bobby Unser (47 years, 93 days) and Emerson Fittipaldi (46 years, 169 days).
Castroneves' victory was the seventh "500" win for a Brazilian driver. In addition to Castroneves' four victories, countrymen Fittipaldi won in 1989 and 1983 and Tony Kanaan won in 2013
The 2021 Indy 500 marked the fastest ever with an average speed of 190.960 mph, breaking the previous record of 187.433 mph set in 2013.
There were two caution periods for a total of 18 laps, both Indianapolis 500 records. The previous fewest caution periods was four in both 1990 and 2019. The record for fewest caution laps was 21, in 1976, 2013 and 2014.
On Lap 33, Stefan Wilson spun at the entry of pit road and made contact with the pit wall leading to a 13-lap caution period.
On Lap 119, Graham Rahal lost a left-rear wheel exiting pit lane, spun and made hard contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2.
Castroneves' win marked the first time No. 06 won the race, and also the first time a car number starting with a zero won the race.
The 12-year gap between Castroneves' third and fourth victories became the second longest, bested only by Juan Pablo Montoya's 15-year gap between victories.
Castroneves started from the eighth position and became the third driver to win from the middle of the third row. Danny Sullivan won from eighth in 1985 and Kenny Brack accomplished the same feat in 1999.
Castroneves' victory marked the 14th Indy 500 win for Honda, second on the all-time list to Offenhauser's 27 victories.
Scott McLaughlin's 20th-place finish marked the best result for a rookie driver.
There were 35 lead changes amount 13 drivers, the most since 2017 when there were also 35 lead changes. The record is 68 lead changes, set in 2013.
Having led twice, Scott Dixon extended his Indianapolis 500 record for times led to 58. He has also led at least one lap in 14 of his 19 Indy 500 starts, tying Kanaan for the all-time record.
Will Power did not lead any laps, breaking an eight-year streak of laps led that ran from 2013 to 2020.
Conor Daly, Alex Palou, Pato O'Ward and Rinus VeeKay led laps for the first time in their "500" careers. Daly made his eighth start, while Palou, O'Ward and VeeKay made their second starts. With the addition of these four drivers, a total of 236 drivers have led laps in the 500-mile race.
Next up for IndyCar is the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader on June 12 and 13.
Originally scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. EDT, practice was delayed by 2.5 hours due to inclement weather at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The revised start time of 1:30 p.m. was further delayed by a fuel spill on pit lane in the pit stall of the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda. For the infraction, the team was assessed a five-minute stop-and-hold penalty.
Once green at 1:36 p.m., practice was able to continue under green-flag conditions until 3:25 p.m., when weather conditions prompted a yellow flag. Six minutes later, the checkered flag flew five minutes prior to the two-hour mark.
During practice, the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda of Marcus Ericsson received a 10-minute stop-and-hold penalty for violating two rules:
7.10.2: Flowing fuel during practice with engine running.
220.127.116.11: Failure to follow the direction of INDYCAR.
The next on-track action is the Indianapolis 500 itself. The green flag is scheduled at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, May 30.
The 120-minute session was interrupted by one yellow flag when Simon Pagenaud's No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet began smoking at the 25-minute mark. The issue began in Turn 1 and Pagenaud pulled the car off course and to a stop in Turn 2.
The final results included four Chip Ganassi Racing Hondas in the top five. All four cars also featured in the Firestone Fast Nine.
Scott Dixon's pole win was his first of 2021, the 27th of his Indy car career and his fourth at the Indianapolis 500, which ties him for second on the all-time list. His last pole came at the 2017 Indianapolis 500. It will be his sixth front-row start at the Indy 500.
Dixon's achievement marked the 91st pole in Indy car competition for Chip Ganassi Racing and the team's sixth pole at Indianapolis. Its previous "500" poles were with Arie Luyendyk in 1993, Bruno Junqueira in 2002 and Dixon in 2008, 2015 and 2017.
Colton Herta's second-place starting position represents a career best best at Indianapolis for the 21-year-old driver.
Rinus VeeKay, the third-place starter, will also make a career-best start at Indianapolis. He also became the youngest front-row starter in race history at 20 years and 254 days old.
The field of 33's average qualifying speed of 230.294 mph is a new Indianapolis 500 record, surpassing the previous average speed of 229.382 mph set in 2014.
Sage Karam, Will Power and Simona De Silvestro will fill starting positions 31–33 after both Charlie Kimball and RC Enerson were unable to bump their way into the starting lineup.
Scott Dixon, the first qualifier of the day thanks to his qualification draw, set a mark that was unable to be matched for the entirety of the five-hour and 50-minute session. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s 231.825 mph four-lap average proved untouchable, although teammate Tony Kanaan and Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta came closest.
Qualifying, which began at noon EDT, was without incident until 3:38 p.m. during Alex Palou’s second qualification attempt. On his third lap, Palou got loose and made hard right-rear contact with the SAFER Barrier at the exit of Turn 2. The race car came to rest on the backstretch and Palou was able to exit his vehicle without assistance from the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team.
At the conclusion of qualifying, five drivers remained outside the top 30 and will compete for the final three starting positions on Sunday in the last-row shootout: Simona De Silvestro, Charlie Kimball, Will Power, Sage Karam and RC Enerson.
Just prior to the last qualifying run, Dalton Kellett withdrew his four-lap average of 229.250 mph and averaged 228.323 mph in his attempt, remaining 30th but lowering the threshold for entry into the top 30 by almost a full mile per hour. Following Kellett, De Silvestro made the final run of the day but was unable to surpass 228.323 mph, solidifying Kellett’s position in the top 30.
Almost immediately after the green flag at noon EDT, the No. 26 Honda of Colton Herta made light contact with the wall in Turn 4 and made further light contact with the No. 3 Chevrolet of Scott McLaughlin. Both drivers were able to continue on track.
At 4:14 p.m., the No. 18 Honda of Santino Ferrucci spun midway through Turn 2 and made hard rear contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier. Ferrucci was assisted to the medical vehicle by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team.
INDYCAR Medical Director Geoffrey Billows provided the following medical update information regarding Ferrucci: "Santino Ferrucci has been transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further evaluation of his left foot after being involved in the first major incident of practice this week."
At end of the session, Tony Kanaan was fastest overall in the No. 48 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda while Jack Harvey topped the no-tow speed chart at 222.090 mph in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda.
Noon to 5:50 p.m. Saturday, May 22
1:15–2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 23 (Last Row Qualifications)
3–3:45 p.m. (Fast Nine Qualifications)
Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 22 on Peacock Premium
2–3 p.m. Saturday, May 22 on NBC
3–6 p.m. Saturday, May 22 on NBCSN
1–2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 23 on NBCSN
2:30–4 p.m. Sunday, May 23 on NBC
10 a.m. to Noon Tuesday, May 18 (Oval Veterans)
Noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 18 (ROP and Refreshers)
3–6 p.m. Tuesday, May 18
Noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 19
Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 20
Noon to 6 p.m. Friday, May 21 (Fast Friday)
9:30–10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 22
11 a.m. to Noon Sunday, May 23
5–7 p.m. Sunday, May 23
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, May 28
— 2020: Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
— 2019: Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
— 2018: Will Power, Team Penske
— 2017: Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport
— 2016: Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
— 2015: Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske
Last Five Poles
— 2020: Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport (231.068 mph)
— 2019: Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske (229.992 mph)
— 2018: Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing (229.618 mph)
— 2017: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing (232.164 mph)
— 2016: James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (230.760 mph)
237.498 mph (Arie Luyendyk of Treadway Racing on May 12, 1996)
236.986 mph (Arie Luyendyk of Treadway Racing on May 12, 1996)