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2013 Indy 500: Dempsey wins four-wide Freedom 100

Peter Dempsey won the Firestone Freedom 100, the traditional support race curtain-raiser to the Indianapolis 500 weekend, after a thrilling four-wide finish.
Ireland's Peter Dempsey emerged victorious for Belardi in a thrilling end to the Firestone Freedom 100, the Indy Lights race that is the traditional starter for the Indianapolis 500 race weekend.

The race saw Dempsey take the line just 0.0026s ahead of Schmidt's Gabby Chaves in a jaw-dropping four-wide finish across the world famous yard of bricks at the start-finish line - a sight that most race fans not only thought they'd never see, but which was believed to be impossible on the 50-foot-wide front stretch without triggering total disaster. (See video: Will the Indy 500 provide such drama?)

Dempsey had been in fourth place and Chaves in third when the white flag came out, but the pair got a huge run on race leaders Carlos Munoz (Andretti) and Sage Karam (Schmidt) coming out of the final turn and were able to pull level with the lead duo as the line approached.

Karam had started the race from pole position, but Munoz had made sure that he never pulled too far away at the start of the race and on lap 12 succeeded in taking the lead for himself, in what is the ideal dress rehearsal for the Colombian who is starting the Indy 500 on Sunday from the front row.

Munoz continued to lead for virtually the remainder of the afternoon but was unable to shake Karam even as the duo gradually dropped Chaves and Dempsey looked to be struggling to remain in touch with the podium contenders, running almost half a second back from the leader when the white flag had came out.

Munoz' grip on victory faltered only in the last seconds, with Karam just managing to inch ahead before both men were passed in the last instant by Dempsey and Chaves on the outside which left Dempsey celebrating in victory lane quipping that the beers were on him tonight, and a slightly bewildered Munoz wondering how he had lost out on the podium.

"It literally took my breath away," said Dempsey's team owner Brian Belardi. "He did such a great job just holding station. We knew it was going to be a shootout with those three cars in the front and they just poked a massive hole and he was able to sneak in there and just drove a flawless race.

"He is a great race car driver, we all know," he added. "For the team to get their first here, it is so special. Words cannot describe it."

"If you're going to win your first Firestone Indy Lights race, there's no better place to do it than at Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said an ecstatic Dempsey. "I had a feeling this end was going to happen, and you know it's going to be four-wide across the line certain enough. It's massive!"




Related Pictures

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Peter Dempsey wins the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Friday, May 24 2013. (Photo Credit: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Peter Dempsey wins the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Friday, May 24 2013. (Photo Credit: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Peter Dempsey wins the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Friday, May 24 2013. (Photo Credit: Eric McCombs for IndyCar Media)
Peter Dempsey wins the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Friday, May 24 2013. (Photo Credit: Eric McCombs for IndyCar Media)
Peter Dempsey wins the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Friday, May 24 2013. (Photo Credit: Eric McCombs for IndyCar Media)
Peter Dempsey wins the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Friday, May 24 2013. (Photo Credit: Eric McCombs for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates winning the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg with third-place finisher Tony Kanaan (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates winning the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Start of the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6; and Tony Kanaan (right), driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6; celebrate with Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who raced to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power finished second. Kanaan finished third. Chevrolet took the top six places in the first race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher)
Juan Pablo Montoya enters Turn 3 during the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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