"I knew I wanted to come back here and be a winner," Hemelgarn said. "Now that it's happened, after 19 years bringing cars to this place, I'm so overwhelmed that there is no way I can describe how I feel. I'm a goal-oriented guy, and I've accomplished a lot in the business world, but I have never felt the way I felt yesterday when Buddy crossed the finish line."
Hemelgarn, 49, said he felt the thrill of victory twice because when he turned around, the first person he saw was Stan Fox standing near him. Fox, one of the 39 drivers Hemelgarn has put in Indy 500 cars, received severe head injuries after being involved in a six-car accident on the first lap last year. He was in a coma for five days after surgery.
"It was 365 days ago that we were at the Methodist Hospital and doctors told us that Stan's chances of living were not real good," Hemelgarn said. "I had millions of dollars of racing equipment at the track, but for three weeks all I could focus on was Stan.
"For literally 24 hours a day, we--his family and friends--were with him, praying he would make it through. He was my driver, and more than that. We had become close friends."
In a roundabout way, the injury to Fox led to Lazier getting the ride in the car that won Indy.
"Davey Hamilton was going to drive the car this year, but one day he called up and said he was going with A.J. Foyt," Hemelgarn said. "I was pretty upset about it. We had a contract, but you can't win with someone who wants to be somewhere else, so I picked up the phone and called Buddy.
"I told him we'd have top equipment for him, something he's not seen a lot of since he first came to Indy with me in 1991. I knew his dad, Bob, and ever since I saw the two of them trying to race in 1989 at Mid-Ohio in an old car with an older engine, I've wanted to help them."
Lazier said he was scared.
"In those last 16 laps, racing Davy Jones, the car was on the ragged edge each lap," Lazier said. "I was scared to death every time we went around every corner. I want to compliment Davy too, because he held his racing line when I went to pass him."
A team of doctors led by orthopedic surgeon Kevin Scheid operated on driver Alessandro Zampedri until midnight Sunday to repair his multiple fractures received in a last lap crash. He remains in stable condition at Methodist Hospital, said Henry Bock, Speedway medical director. . . . Pole-sitter Tony Stewart, who led the first 31 laps and finished 24th after his engine blew at 82 laps, was named rookie of the year over Richie Hearn, who finished third in the race.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
Indianapolis 500 Results
Official results of Sunday's Indianapolis 500, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown or country, car number, chassis-engine, laps completed, reason out and prizes announced Monday night from a purse of $8.11 million (all cars 1995 models unless noted otherwise; r-rookie):
1. (5) Buddy Lazier, Vail, Colo., No. 91, Reynard-Ford, 200 laps, $1,367,854.
2. (2) Davy Jones, Lake Tahoe, Nev., No. 70, Lola-Mercedes, 200 laps, $632,503.
3. (15) r-Richie Hearn, Canyon Country, No. 4, Reynard-Ford, 200 laps, $375,203.
4. (7) Alessandro Zampedri, Italy, No. 8, Lola-Ford, 199 laps, crash, $270,853.
5. (6) Roberto Guerrero, San Juan Capistrano, No. 21, Reynard-Ford, 198 laps, crash, $315,503.
6. (3) Eliseo Salazar, Chile, No. 7, Lola-Ford, 197 laps, crash, $226,653.
7. (33) Danny Ongais, Long Beach, No. 32, Lola-Menard, 197 laps, $228,253.
8. (30) Hideshi Matsuda, Japan, No. 52, 1994 Lola-Ford, 197 laps, $233,953.
9. (23) r-Robbie Buhl, Grosse Pointe, Mich., No. 54, 1994 Lola-Ford, 197 laps, $195,403.
10. (21) Scott Sharp, Danville, Calif., No. 11, Lola-Ford, 194 laps, crash, $202,053.
11. (4) Eddie Cheever, Aspen, Colo., No. 3, Lola-Menard, 189 laps, engine, $206,103.
12. (10) r-Davey Hamilton, Boise, Idaho, No. 14, Lola-Ford, 181 laps, transmission, $184,003.
13. (8) r-Michel Jourdain Jr., Mexico, No. 22, Lola-Ford, 177 laps, engine, $193,653.
14. (18) Lyn St. James, Daytona Beach, Fla., No. 45, 1994 Lola-Ford, 153 laps, crash, $182,603.
15. (32) r-Scott Harrington, Indianapolis, No. 44, Reynard-Ford, 150 laps, crash, $190,753.
16. (20) Arie Luyendyk, Netherlands, No. 5, Reynard-Ford, 149 laps, crash, $216,503.
17. (9) r-Buzz Calkins, Denver, No. 12, Reynard-Ford, 148 laps, brakes, $173,553.
18. (19) r-Jim Guthrie, Albuquerque, N.M., No. 27, 1993 Lola-Menard, 144 laps, engine, $168,453.