Rookie Alexander Rossi wins Indianapolis 500

By Allen Cone  |  Updated May 29, 2016 at 7:33 PM
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INDIANPOLIS, Ind., May 29 (UPI) -- Rookie Alexander Rossi won the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 by gambling he would have enough fuel to finish the race Sunday.

Just barely. After crossing the finish line, he ran out of fuel and had to be towed to Victory Lane.

Other leaders were forced to head to the pits in the closing laps as Carlos Munoz finished second, followed by Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan.

Rossi, a 24-year-old from California, became the first rookie to win the race since Helio Castroneves in 2001. It was his first career victory in five races.

"I have no idea how we pulled that off," Rossi, a native of Nevada City, Calif., said after his traditional gulp of milk in Victory Lane. "I just can't believe that we've done this. I'm just so thankful."

Rossi said he didn't know how much fuel he had for the final few laps.

Rossi said his team, including owners Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta, "rolled the dice and came through and made it happen." He added, "I have no doubt it's going to change my life."

The race was caution-free for the first 115 miles, until a yellow flag allowed debris on the track to be cleaned up.

Juan Pablo Montoya, the race's defending champion, crashed just after the 150-mile mark but escaped serious injury.

Polesitter James Hinchcliffe was seventh. Castroneves, a three-time champion, took 11th.

The Indianapolis 500 was first run in 1911 but suspended during the two World Wars. The near-record crowd was estimated at more than 400,000.

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