Kite finishes 13th at Indy

From staff and wire reports

INDIANAPOLIS ? Stockbridge's Jimmy Kite started Sunday's Indiapolis 500 in the back row and in 32nd place. By the end of the race, Kite had moved up 19 position and placed 13th. Kite drove the No. 18 PDM Racing car Sunday.

"This was one of the hardest races of my career," Kite said. "We couldn't cruise. The leaders were setting a fast pace and I had to keep up. The PDM guys did an awesome job in the pits and we just tried to follow our strategy all day. Thirteenth is like a win to this team."

It was Kite's fourth start in the legendary motorsports event and was his second-best finish. In 1998, he placed 11th in his rookie season in the Indy Racing League.

Gil de Ferran ends Castroneves' streak: Same team, same country, different driver.

Gil de Ferran held off Helio Castroneves on a six-lap sprint to the end Sunday to win the Indianapolis 500, spoiling his Brazilian teammate's bid for an unprecedented third straight victory.

De Ferran, who was severely injured in a crash March 23 in Phoenix, passed Castroneves for the lead on lap 170 of the 200-lap race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and stayed out front through three restarts.

A joyous and tearful de Ferran clutched his helmet with both hands after reaching Victory Lane, then ? wincing from his earlier back injury ? stood and threw his arms into the air in triumph.

"It's hard to describe in words what I'm feeling right now. It's such an unbelievable moment for me," he said as his son and daughter climbed onto his car.

Moments later, he took the traditional swig of milk, dribbling it down his chin.

"I love milk," he said. "Wonderful."

The victory was the third straight for team owner Roger Penske, whose record for wins at Indy climbed to 13.

Castroneves did everything he could to put his name into the history books, pushing de Ferran to the end and finishing behind him by only 0.299-seconds ? about five car lengths. It was the third closest finish in 87 Indy races.

The late cautions may have prevented Castroneves from a serious challenge.

"Unfortunately, the yellows kept coming at the end," he said.

The win was a big step for de Ferran, who skipped the final race of the 2002 season with a concussion from a crash, then missed the IRL's Japan race last month while recovering from another concussion and broken bones in his neck and lower back. That accident left the 35-year-old de Ferran flat on his back for several weeks, and he was unable to return to his race car until May 3, the opening day of practice for the 500.

Castroneves started from the pole and de Ferran began 10th in the 33-car field. Both Penske drivers spent the race putting themselves in position for the finish that reversed the order of Castroneves' first win in 2001.

Castroneves beat Tomas Scheckter out of the pits on lap 129 during a caution period to take the lead. De Ferran was third on the restart on lap 134, but quickly shot past Scheckter to make it Penske 1-2.

Both made their final pit stop on lap 166, moved back to the front when the other leaders made their final stops and stayed there the rest of the way.