Montoya beats Andretti in sensational duel

One of the greatest duels in the history of open-wheel racing ended with Juan Montoya snatching the Michigan 500 from Michael Andretti by less than a car-length today at Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn.

One of the greatest duels in the history of open-wheel racing ended with Juan Montoya snatching the Michigan 500 from Michael Andretti by less than a car-length today at Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn.

Using a timely tow from the lapped car of Tarso Marques off the final turn of the 250-lap race, Montoya held off Andretti by 0.040 seconds after 17 laps of breathtaking wheel-to-wheel racing at speeds up to 225 mph (362 kph).

The determined drivers swapped the lead at least once on each of those laps and nearly touched wheels between turns two and three on the final trip around the 2-mile (3-kilometer), high-banked oval. But neither would give ground. During that period, the lead was never bigger than 0.6790 seconds.

On the final lap, Andretti allowed Montoya to drive into the lead in the first turn, setting him up for a pass in turn three. It worked to perfection, with Andretti diving low on the banked and nosing ahead as the leaders charged off the final turn.

"It's a shame because we had a perfect race and we did everything that we wanted to do," Andretti said.

Montoya, who earlier this year won the rival Indy Racing League's showcase Indianapolis 500 in completely different equipment, gave Toyota its first 500-mile (804-kilometer) race win and only its second victory ever in the CART FedEx Series.

"When I would pass Michael, he would just pass me back and pass me back and pass me back," Montoya said. "Everything was about timing and who would cross the line first.

"I thought we were going to go into the last corner side by side and then there was this guy in front us," the 24-year-old defending CART champion added. "I thought, 'I'm not going to lift. If I'm going to have to hit the guy I'm going to hit him."'

Andretti, a two-time Michigan winner, took the series points lead with his second-place run and was smiling when he said, "(Marques) could have helped me win or help Juan, and he helped Juan. I started to catch his draft coming off the corner. He started to go low and then he went high and allowed Juan to suction up behind him. That's the difference.

"We laid back and saved fuel and the whole bit. We had what we needed to fight at the end and we lost it."

It appeared late in the grueling race that it would be determined not by hard racing but by a fuel economy run, with Helio Castroves leading the way and 1998 winner Adrian Fernandez running second and getting the best mileage.

But Christian Fittipaldi, Andretti's teammate and one of the leaders throughout the race, suddenly veered off the track at high speed on lap 221 and had a frightening ride through the grass on the backstretch.

Although Fittipaldi didn't hit anything in bringing out the fifth and final caution of the race, he got out of the car limping badly and was put on a stretcher and taken to the infield medical center complaining of severe pain in his right leg. CART officials later said his injuries were nothing more than bruises.

The caution period allowed several of the leaders, including Montoya, to pit for fuel and left the rest of the front-runners enough to finish the race without worry. "It was a bit of a joke out there for a while," Andretti said. "We were all conserving fuel and it felt like we shooting a movie out there. But it was OK because it was just setting up what happened at the end."

The spectacular race featured 52 official lead changes - second only to the 62 here two years ago - and unofficially 162 overall. Official lead changes are scored only at the finish line.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor