Chevrolet earns first Indy 500 win since 2002

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This time, Chevrolet made sure they wouldn’t be surprised on Race Day at the Indianapolis 500.

In 2012, the Bowtie Brigade put eight of its cars in the top nine starting positions at Indy only to see the Honda-powered Target Chip Ganassi Racing duo of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon finish first and second in the race. But on Sunday, Chevy-powered cars swept the top four spots with winner Tony Kanaan (pictured), runner-up Carlos Munoz, third-place finisher Ryan Hunter-Reay and fourth-place finisher Marco Andretti.

Kanaan’s victory was the first for Chevy at the “500” since Helio Castroneves notched his second win at the Brickyard in 2002, and its eighth “500” triumph overall – a resounding response to Honda’s rally one year ago.

“Tony drove a great race, and the team executed flawlessly,” said Jim Campbell, Chevy’s U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “Their total focus was on driving to the front of the field.  Tony and the No. 11 team demonstrated tremendous teamwork, perseverance and a never-give-up-attitude all day.”

“A proud congratulations to Tony Kanaan and the entire Chevrolet-powered KV Racing Technology team for winning the 97th Indy 500,” said Chevy IndyCar manager Chris Berube. “The win was hard fought through a record number of lead changes and clean, close racing. We are so proud of the tireless efforts put in by KV Racing and our technical partners to prepare for the race and executed it so well. On to Detroit where Team Chevy will carry the momentum of this great result to the Dual in Detroit on Belle Isle!”

While Justin Wilson came on late with a fifth-place result, the majority of the Honda camp was never really a factor on Sunday. A stronger effort in the final practice on Friday raised thoughts of their performance last May, but an encore never truly came close to materializing as the Bowtie dominated the proceedings.

Chevy also netted seven of the Top 10 spots at the checkered flag, adding in results for Helio Castroneves in sixth, A.J. Allmendinger in seventh and pole sitter Ed Carpenter in 10th. The Indiana native led a race-high 37 laps but was unable to break through traffic late due to a push condition on his car.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.