Former Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin crashed from the Indy 500 on a day of utter carnage during the iconic US auto race.
Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson won the Indianapolis 500 on Monday (AEST), holding Pato O’Ward at bay in a two-lap shootout after a late red flag interrupted the race.
Ericsson was ahead of O’Ward by more than a second when Jimmie Johnson’s crash with five laps to go brought out the red flag in the 200-lap classic on Indy’s famous 4km oval.
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“Those 10 minutes sitting in the pit lane during that red flag were some of the hardest 10 minutes of my life,” said Ericsson.
When the green flag waved the green flag for racing at full speed with two laps to go, Ericsson resisted O’Ward’s attempt to pass at the start of the final lap to claim victory.
“Pato had a great run with me,” Ericsson said.
“I just kept my foot steady and that was the winning move. She made me work for it, for sure. ”
Ericsson became the second Swede to win the race after Kenny Brack in 1999.
Brazilian Tony Kanaan finished third while his teammate Scott Dixon suffered another heartbreak from the Indy 500 after starting from pole.
New Zealand veteran Dixon, who won from pole in 2008, led most of the race but a speed violation was inflicted in the pit lane for not driving slowly enough during his final pit stop.
“Come on! Are you serious?” Dixon yelled into his radio as he was informed of the violation that had sent him to the bottom of his pack.
It was the fourth time that Dixon, a six-time IndyCar series champion, had started from pole and failed to win the iconic race. He finished second three times.
Johnson’s incident was one of many that highlighted the caution flag.
British rookie Callum Ilott crashed heavily on Turn 2 on lap 70. He walked away, injuring his right hand.
Dutchman Rinus VeeKay, who started third on the grid, had a spectacular crash when his car caught fire after crashing into the wall while in second place.
“I just freed myself in the middle of Turn 2,” said the commentator.
“Wow, fireball. That gearbox explodes, probably drains all the oil.
VeeKay eventually got out of the car on his own strength.
Kiwifruit Scott McLaughlin was also forced out of the competition when he crashed into the wall twice in a heavy collision which he described as “the biggest hit of my life”.
He said a gust of wind contributed to the crash that ended his day on lap 151.
The three-time Supercars champion said his only injury was “a bruised ego” as he ran past his family for the first time in 31 months.
“The wind is tough, it’s getting higher and higher and it just caught me out there,” said McLaughlin.
“It snapped at me and I was a passenger from there. It is what it is. First shunt at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I’m really gutted. We were in a good position there. “
McLaughlin started 26th out of a group of 33 men and was able to climb back into the top 12 before his crash.
The race capped off a dramatic weekend of crashes, including a spectacular test crash that saw Colton Herta’s car spins from head to toe and glides upside down the track.
Australian Will Power, who was leading the IndyCar championship this season before IndyCar, finished 15th.
He is now fourth in the standings behind Ericsson, O’Ward and Alex Palo with 202 points.
Originally published as Scott McLaughlin “gutted” in a “scary” accident during the Indy 500 carnage