Although he didn’t qualify well, Hunter-Reay said his team had a good car for the race. He led 12 times for 56 laps, taking the lead for the first time on lap 94, after starting 19th on the grid.
The final six laps brought tight racing.
“At the end of the day there’s stupid and bravery, and I think we were right there on the edge, both of us,” Castroneves said. “I’m glad we both come out in a good way. I’m sad it did not come out the way I wanted.”
The Brazilian Castroneves said he was happy to see an American win the race, noting the significance for the series.
Hunter-Reay led a strong Andretti Motorsports showing. The team placed four cars in the top six with Marco Andretti finishing third, followed by Carlos Munoz. Kurt Busch was the highest finishing rookie, coming home in sixth.
Juan Pablo Montoya overcame a speeding penalty on pit road in the first half of the race to come home in fifth.
Teenager Sage Karam, 19, had an impressive run from the 30th starting spot to come home in ninth.
The race went a record 150 laps without a caution. The first caution flag came when Charlie Kimball hit the turn two wall. But it waved three more times in the final 50 laps.
Two of the contenders were taken out on the restart on lap 175 when Townsend Bell, pole-sitter Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe went three-wide into turn one. Hinchcliffe rode up the track and collected Carpenter while fighting for second.
Carpenter was livid, calling out Hinchcliffe for an “amateur” move.
“The moment when Hinch decided to make it three-wide was more than any of us could handle,” Carpenter said. “I told him if he didn’t have a concussion last week I would have punched him in the face.”