Munoz was called in a lap later. The Columbian was in and out, rejoining in 4th and on a charge to catch his Yankee teammate.
With Munoz off, Rossi was back in the lead. It had already been 32 laps since his last stop. Surely he would have to come in for fuel. There was no way he could make it last four more laps… Yeah, he had done it earlier, but that was with the help of some yellow flag laps. 36 laps under all green? Not a chance in hell.
With Munoz 2/3 of a lap behind, Rossi began to take dreastic measures. He turned his fuel setting down to the yellow flag map: a very lean, low power seting used to conserve fuel during cautions, handicapping his Honda engine. Then Herta came on the radio: “I want you to clutch the engine and coast down the straightaways.” Rossi thought his team owner had lost it, but he did just that. His lap speeds began to fall. First they were 220 MPH. Then 216. Then 214. On Lap 198 they dipped again to 212. On 199, laying down every card he had, Rossi's speed dropped to 202. Munoz was closing fast. There was no way…
Rossi saw the white flag. Down the back stretch, Herta decided it was now or never. “Full throttle, full throttle,” was the call. If Rossi's motor died, he could coast to the finish line. The motor coughed, Rossi gunned it and he prayed. Munoz, smelling blood in the water, gave it his all. In the end, Rossi made it to the yard of bricks 5 seconds before Munoz. He had done it. He had won the Indianapolis 500. His last lap's speed? 174.784 MPH.
Rossi's car ran out not long after he crossed the finish line. Honestly you couldn't tell: the crowd was so loud, they drowned out everything else on the track. Rossi's car finally coasted to a stop just before Turn 4. He climbed out and took a bow, waving to the fans, thanking them for sharing the incredible moment. The Holmatro safety team towed him back to pit lane. Thankfully, despite all the wrecks, the Holmatro team's job was easy. No drivers or team members were injured during the race. (Photo credit: Karl Zipf Jr)
Victory Lane was absolute pandemonium. You could not ask for a happier group of guys. There were high fives and hugs all around. Bryan Herta's last win? In 2011 with Dan Wheldon at this very track. Fitting then that his team won both the 100th anniversary and the 100th Running of the 500.