Indy 500 red-flagged three times amid frightening late crashes

by Matt Beer
2 min read

The Indianapolis 500 was red-flagged in the closing stages after a frightening crash involving McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist and Andretti driver Kyle Kirkwood, and then stopped again twice more when first Rosenqvist’s team-mate Pato O’Ward crashed heavily then five midfield cars tangled at the next restart attempt.

A wheel from Kirkwood’s car cleared the circuit’s debris fence as the first accident unfolded and landed in a parking area in a gap between grandstands. Initial reports suggest there were no injuries as a result.

Rosenqvist was among the contenders for victory going into the final 15 laps when he ran high into the wall while being overtaken by Josef Newgarden.

Rosenqvist’s damaged car slewed back across the track and then spun, with Kirkwood clipping it in an impact that sheared the left-rear wheel from his car and sent it flying high over the fence.

Kirkwood’s car then slammed into the outside wall and was tipped onto its side, continuing down the track in that state for some distance.

He quickly reported over team radio that he was OK bar some pain in his knees. Rosenqvist was also unhurt.

“In the aftermath everything happened so quick, you don’t really know what happened,” said Kirkwood.

“All I’ve heard right now is that I was up in the fence, which is never a good thing in IndyCar. Thank God these cars are so safe. It could have been a lot worse.

“You see the sparks flying around. That was the scary part, when I was upside down and no one was getting to me. You’re kind of stuck at that point. I’m just glad it’s so safe.”

After a few laps under yellow, the red flag came out with 14 laps left and then restarted after further yellow running with nine laps left and O’Ward leading.

Newgarden surged from third to first at the restart, and while fighting Marcus Ericsson for second O’Ward then lost control after contact and spun into the wall, rearing up it but staying the right way up.

In chain reaction crashes behind Simon Pagenaud was tipped into the wall by Scott McLaughlin and Agustin Canapino’s car sustained damage that led to it crashing into O’Ward’s stopped Dallara-Chevrolet. All drivers involved were able to get out unaided.

What should have been the final shootout took place with Newgarden leading from Ericsson and Santino Ferrucci but Ericsson got the jump at the green flag just as a mid-pack incident involving Christian Lundgaard, Ed Carpenter, Benjamin Pedersen, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti erupted and caused another stoppage with two laps officially to run.

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