April 22, 2017

Kyle Tilley and Cary Racing No. 1 claim victory in wild 60th annual Purdue Grand Prix

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Kyle Tilley, No. 14 driving for Cary Racing #1, looked as though he were off on a sunny Saturday drive during the first bit of the 60th annual Purdue Grand Prix. However, a lap 85 run-in with another car meant the race was on.

Tilley, a rookie, hit the back of a lapped car on lap 85 after cruising through the field. He took the lead on lap two when the first two cars, including last year's winning team, Delts Racing, took each other out.

"I had so many mixed emotions out there," he said.  "First we got in an accident over there and I thought it was over after that. If you look down here my tie-rod is actually still bent and my steering column."

A quick trip to the pits to replace a tire put Tilley down the leader board. His car was just too fast, however, and he quickly started to climb again.

A mid-race red flag stopped all cars and forced a single file restart with the No. 23 car of Ross Rankine and Delta Upsilon Larry Miller Racing in the lead. Trouble for Rankine on lap 108 put Abby Willis, a freshman from IUPUI that started sixth on the grid, in the lead.

Despite having a fast car, Willis couldn't hold off a charging Tilley. He made a pass for the lead on lap 130 and never looked back. 

Tilley drinks milk Winner Kyle Tilley drinks the traditional milk after winning the 60th annual Purdue Grand Prix on April 22. (Purdue University Photo/Mark Simons) Download image

"Luckily my pit crew did an amazing job replacing the tire and getting me back on the track," he said. "This was crazier than I could have ever imagined."

Willis went on to finish second, and James Schnabel, driving for Motorsports Club at IUPUI #1, finished third after starting eighth on the grid.

"I was shocked that I was in first and I was just trying to hold on to it," Willis said. "Tilley was just so fast."

Doug Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, served as grand marshal for the event. Boles was named president of IMS in 2013. He is responsible for daily operations at the facility, including all four world-class racing events that range from the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil to the NASCAR Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard. He is a Butler University graduate with a law degree from Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis. The Indiana native also was a founding partner in Panther Racing, one of the Verizon IndyCar Series' most successful teams.

The event, sponsored by the Grand Prix Foundation, exists to raise funds for annual student scholarships and is organized by a volunteer staff of 12 senior board directors, two advisers and a junior board staff.

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325, mhuckaby@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: B-roll from the Purdue Grand Prix will be available at https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxdPFMVWz-l2MUFhUElmNXo5Y3M

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