Ninth place was enough for Robert Wickens to secure top rookie honors at this year’s Indianapolis 500, but the Canadian believes that the No.6 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport car potentially could have finished even higher.
Wickens was one of a handful of drivers to pit under caution on lap 68, but he admitted that going off-strategy was not initially the intention.
“Unfortunately on one of the yellows we came into the pits thinking everybody was going to do the same,” he said. “Turns out we were one of the only ones that did. We lost track position. Today, track position seemed like it was everything.”
At one point, the pattern of cautions appeared to be swinging the momentum of the race in favor of the gamblers – until another two yellows swung it back the other way.
“I guess that was the nail in our coffin,” Wickens said. “We were basically stuck at the back; we couldn’t make inroads anywhere.
“The last yellow with 10 to go, we had nothing to lose. We put on new tires and restarted 19th, and charged up to ninth. Honestly, it was an amazing 10 laps. If it wasn’t for those 10 laps, I’d probably be pretty bummed with my first Indy 500. Passing 10 cars in the last 10 laps was pretty special.”