The Latest: Alonso takes his first lead at Indy 500

The Latest: Alonso takes his first lead at Indy 500
The Latest: Alonso takes his first lead at Indy 500

The Latest on motorsport’s busiest day (all times local):

1 p.m.

The first round of pit stops at the Indy 500 left Indianapolis native Ed Carpenter in the front, followed by defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Formula One star Fernando Alonso.

Alonso took his first race lead moments later on Lap 37.

Two-time race winner Juan Pablo Montoya stalled his car when he reached pit road, costing him some valuable time. Jay Howard ran out of gas and had to nurse his car to the pits.

Zach Veach missed his pit box and was assessed a drive-thru penalty.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis


12:40 p.m.

Tony Kanaan just surpassed the 4,000-lap led mark for his IndyCar career.

In his 20th season, the 2013 Indy 500 champion has roared to the front under cloudy skies and with a stiff breeze blowing off Turn 2. It’s the 13th time in 16 starts at Indianapolis that the Brazilian has led the race, tying four-time winner A.J. Foyt for the race record.

Now, the question is whether Kanaan’s engine can keep him there.

Kanaan is powered by a Honda engine for Chip Ganassi Racing, and there’s been a string of failures for the manufacturer the past few weeks. James Hinchcliffe’s engine was the latest to let go on Carb Day.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis


12:30 p.m.

Fernando Alonso had no problems with a rolling start at the Indy 500.

The two-time Formula One champion said this week that he hadn’t made a rolling start in a race in 20 years, back when he was driving karts. But starting in the middle of the second row, Alonso took it easy on the traditional three-wide start under the famed Indianapolis pagoda.

He quickly dropped a few spots as the field got to speed, while Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi began jockeying for the lead ahead of him.

Kanaan was leading Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon after 10 laps.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis


12:10 p.m.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is ready for his debut at the Indianapolis 500.

He tells ESPN it is one of the best moments ever to be at one of the world’s greatest races. He also noted that he’s at an experience disadvantage as an Indy 500 rookie.

Still, he was hopeful that the first few laps, first few restarts and first few cautions would help him settle in for a strong run.

“Hopefully I get up to speed as quick as I can,” he said in the final minutes before the green flag.

Alonso was starting fifth, the middle of Row 2.


12:05 p.m.

Angela Brown gave a stirring rendition of “God Bless America” at the first Indy 500 since Florence Henderson died.

Henderson sang the song virtually every year for decades.

As a tribute to Henderson, she was recognized Saturday at the driver’s meeting and a brick with her name on it was placed inside speedway’s museum.

– Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis


11:15 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen returned to the speedway for another Indy 500, a longtime family tradition.

“It is a global event,” Pence told ABC. “To be able to be here … is a real joy for us.”

The former Indiana governor left the race prediction to Karen, however, and she went with veteran Ed Carpenter.

“He’s a friend, a hometown boy – and he’s in the front row this year,” she said.


10:15 a.m.

Sebastian Bourdais is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, as promised, he’s using crutches.

The Frenchman was involved in a terrifying wreck on qualifying weekend that left him with a fractured pelvis, hip and ribs. He had surgery hours after the accident, was released from Methodist Hospital on Wednesday and is already going through hours of daily rehabilitation .

“I’m feeling great to be here and out of the hospital atmosphere,” said Bourdais, who told The Associated Press on Saturday that he refused to show up in a wheel chair.

Bourdais still can’t put any weight on his right leg for five weeks, but he is targeting he season-ending race at Sonoma to get back in his car. James Davison will start in his place for Dale Coyne Racing on Sunday.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis


10 a.m.

The red carpet is in full swing beneath the famed Pagoda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and as usual, it’s an eclectic bunch from the worlds of sports and entertainment.

Professional wrestler Ric Flair dutifully went “Wooooo!” for the crowd. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith stopped by to chat. “The Walking Dead” actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who will drive the pace car for the Indy 500, was a popular selfie choice along with his wife, “One Tree Hill” star Hilarie Burton.

Singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha signed autographs a few hours before she was due to sing the national anthem. Jake Gyllenhall was also hanging around to promote his upcoming movie about the Boston Marathon bombing, accompanied by Jeff Bauman, who authored the best-selling book that inspired the film.

Gyllenhall and Bauman were sharing honorary starter duties.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Indianapolis


3:47 p.m.

Sebastian Vettel beat his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen to win the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and comfortably extend his lead at the top of the standings.

It was the four-time F1 champion’s third win of the season and 45th of his career, as well as Ferrari’s first at Monaco since Michael Schumacher in 2001. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo finished third ahead of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.

Title rival Lewis Hamilton clawed his Mercedes through the field to finish a commendable seventh from 13th on the grid.

Raikkonen started from pole position for the first time in nine years, with Vettel joining him on the front row. Both made a clean start, with Vettel holding off Bottas heading into the first corner.

After Raikkonen and Bottas had both come in for a tire change a few laps earlier, Vettel timed his change to perfection 39 laps into the 78-lap race. When he came back out, he was in front of Raikkonen.

– Jerome Pugmire in Monaco


3 p.m.

There has been a flurry of activity in the pit lane halfway through the Monaco Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas came in first to change the tires on his Mercedes, quickly followed by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. That left Sebastian Vettel in the lead from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, but Vettel also needed a new set of tires.

He timed his stop perfectly on lap 39 – exactly halfway – and came back out ahead of Raikkonen and into the race lead.

Ricciardo jumped ahead of Bottas, but Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen felt far from happy to be back in fifth and used an expletive over race radio.

French driver Esteban Ocon also blasted his team over radio after having to come in for a puncture repair on his Force India car.

– Jerome Pugmire in Monaco


2:40 p.m.

Lewis Hamilton is making his way through the field and into the points at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The three-time F1 champion started back from 13th place on the grid after a surprisingly bad performance from his Mercedes in Saturday’s qualifying.

But the British driver has picked up three places and is up to 10th place after 30 laps of the 78-lap race.

Up ahead, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was closing in on second-placed Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen still leads as he chases his first win since the season-opening Australian GP in 2013.

– Jerome Pugmire in Monaco


2:05 p.m.

British driver Jenson Button got a surprise message on the radio just as he was preparing to start the Monaco Grand Prix.

It was from Fernando Alonso, who skipped this year’s Formula One race to run in the Indianapolis 500.

Button came out of retirement for this race to fill in for Alonso. The exchange went like this.

Alonso: “I am sure you don’t want to hear my voice before you start but I just want to say good luck and I will be watching you here.”

“Thanks mate!” Button replied. “I am going to pee in your seat!”

Said Alonso: “Please don’t do that!”

Monaco’s tight 3.4-kilometer (2.1-mile) course is the hardest in F1 to pass competitors.

– Jerome Pugmire in Monaco



One of the busiest days in motorsports has arrived.

The Formula One series kicks things off with the Monaco Grand Prix. Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel holds a slender six-point lead on three-time champion Lewis Hamilton. They have two wins each, but Vettel’s Ferrari looks much quicker than it did last year while Hamilton’s Mercedes is not as dominant. Vettel starts the race on the front row alongside teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Indianapolis 500 is next, with a special guest this year. All eyes will be on two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso as the Spaniard makes a one-off debut. He qualified in fifth place for the biggest race on the IndyCar calendar. Scott Dixon is on the pole for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

NASCAR wraps things up Sunday night with one of its biggest races of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kevin Harvick is on the pole.


More AP auto racing:

Fernando Alonso, of Spain, left, greets car owner Michael Aandretti as he waits next to his car for the start of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 28, 2017 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress Bomber with 69th Bomb Squadron performs a flyover during the National Anthem before the start of Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 28, 2017 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Sam Riche)
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the Formula One Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack in Monaco, Sunday, May 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, left, celebrates after winning the Formula One Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack in Monaco, Sunday, May 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)