2013 Indianapolis 500 results: Ryan Hunter-Reay a victim of bad timing, doesn't want overtime rules

Jamie Squire

Ryan Hunter-Reay was the leader on the final restart but lost two positions before the final caution ended the race. The defending champion believes he could have won the Indianapolis 500 if it had ended under the green.

Ryan Hunter-Reay feels fortunate to have finished third, despite restarting from the lead with five laps to go. Race leaders had been a sitting duck on the restart all afternoon and Hunter-Reay was concerned that he was going to be shuffled outside of the top five and not have a chance to win.

But when he settled in third, behind teammate Carlos Muñoz, he believed he had enough time to chase down Tony Kanaan for the win with three laps remaining.

Of course, those plans were derailed when Dario Franchitti brought out the final caution and the defending IndyCar champion was left to wonder what could have been.

"We were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Hunter-Reay said. "What I thought, though, with three laps to go is that we could have definitely challenged for the win. Being third, dropping in behind Carlos, I was going to get a draft on him through the back straight and he was going to get a draft on Tony.

"Things were going to get interesting in a hurry."

Despite a record number of lead changes and a frantic race pace, Hunter-Reay didn't think luck played that big of a factor in the final results. He says a car still has to be good and the drivers can't make any major mistakes but added timing and track position still play a major role.

"You've got to have a lot of talent and a lot of performance," Hunter-Reay said. "There needs to be some luck for sure -- no bad luck and I think that's what we had today. We had no luck. We just ran around up front and had a great car. Nothing happened out the ordinary.

"We were just on the bad side of that one. That happens. I've been on the good side of that at other racetracks."

While Hunter-Reay was disappointed that he didn't receive the opportunity to race for the win, he's not in favor of a NASCAR-style green-white-checkered rule either, citing tradition and the mass unpredictability it would generate.

"First, this is Indy and there is a certain way things are done," Hunter-Reay said. "If tradition is tradition, you don't materialize results or try to produce them with green-white-checkers. It can be a bit gimmicky...

"(It) gets dicey when you have some cars that gamble on a yellow at the end for fuel and some cars don't. That would have taken another three or four laps to clean up and other cars might not have had enough fuel to finish."

At the end of the day, Hunter-Reay believes he had 500 miles to be the leader when the twin checkers dropped, be it under green or yellow conditions, and he wasn't able to do that on Sunday afternoon.

Tony Kanaan did.

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