The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 had all the drama, excitement and heartbreak that this iconic event is known for. The track conditions were a bit warmer and windier than ideal, but it still provided a very memorable day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The start of the race was quite orderly for cars that average speeds over 215 mph around the 2.5-mile oval. Pole-sitter Scott Dixon led the field safely through the first corner with two of his Ganassi teammates, Álex Palou and Marcus Ericsson, in second and fourth. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay slotted in third. Dixon let Palou take the lead on the first lap to improve his fuel mileage.
Dixon pulled into pit road for his first stop on lap 30. Palou would do the same on the next lap. VeeKay latched onto the leading pair when he rejoined the track. The Dutch driver looked very competitive as he passed Dixon for second place. Though, his day would quickly come to an end. VeeKay got loose as he turned into Turn 2, lost control of his car and crashed rear first into the outside wall. While Ganassi held the first three positions at the restart, the next caution would wreck the team’s strategy.
On Lap 70, Juncos’s Callum Illot also crashed in Turn 2. Palou was a few feet from the pit entry when the caution was thrown, and there was no way he could back out. He entered a closed pit, meaning that he couldn’t receive service. Palou took an emergency service stop during the caution because he almost ran out. The penalty for Palou put him at the back of the field, taking him out of contention. Dixon almost ran out of fuel when the caution came out again on lap 106 after Romain Grosjean crashed out.
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As the race progressed, Conor Daly moved up the order and led for a few laps, filling the same role as his Carpenter teammate earlier. Scott Dixon’s stiffest competition in the race’s last quarter would come from the McLarens of Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist. Though, Dixon defeated himself. On his final pit stop, he sped on entry and received a drive-through penalty. Dixon was out of contention after breaking the career laps led record at the Indianapolis 500.
Ganassi’s Marcus Ericsson broke up a potential McLaren 1-2 by driving to the lead. The McLarens just couldn’t keep pace by the day’s end as the track got warmer. Ericsson was going to cruise across the Yard of Bricks, but his teammate Jimmie Johnson put his car in the Turn 2 wall. Race control red-flagged the race to ensure a racing finish under green.
The race restarted with only two laps left. Ericsson aggressively weaved to keep O’Ward at bay. On the run to Turn 1 on the final lap, O’Ward attempted a last-ditch pass on the outside but backed his McLaren out. The McLaren was too far back to try another pass in Turn 3. However, the caution was thrown after Sage Karam became the final driver to crash into the Turn 2 wall. Marcus Ericsson got his car across the line to win the 106th Indianapolis 500.
Race Results - Top 10
- Marcus Ericsson
- Pato O’Ward
- Tony Kanaan
- Felix Rosenqvist
- Alexander Rossi
- Conor Daly
- Hélio Castroneves
- Simon Pagenaud
- Álex Palou
- Santino Ferrucci
IndyCar will return next week for the Detroit Grand Prix.