Rossi stretched his fuel tank during the last stretch of the race a total of 90 miles that allowed the American to cycle through the field as the rest of the competition came to pit road for a splash of fuel. Sputtering on the final lap just a few hundred feet from making history, Andretti Motorsport co-owner Bryan Herta came on the radio and instructed Rossi to lay off of the clutch to conserve fuel. Rossi enjoyed a large enough lead over second place that we was able to cost across the finish line ultimately running out of gas just past the checkered flag, resulting in the Indy 500 champion having to be towed to victory circle.
Rossi seemed as surprised as anyone else that he was able to pull off such an unfathomable upset at the biggest event of the IndyCar calendar to bring home the coveted 100 th anniversary trophy. “I have no idea how we pulled that off,” he declared. “I really was focused on taking it one lap at a time, “Rossi said. “The emotional roller coaster of this race is ridiculous. There were moments I was really stoked, really heartbroken, really stoked. I was like, ‘Wow, I’ll need to see a psychiatrist after this.” Rossi becomes the 9 th rookie in IndyCar history to win the Indy 500 and the first rookie to accomplish this feat since Helio Castroneves in 2001.