Attrition is apart of every Indianapolis 500. This Sunday’s race known as “the Greatest Spectacle in Racing” was no exception.
Jimmie Johnson crashed with six laps to go, leading to a red flag with Marcus Ericsson leading Pato O’Ward and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 winner, by a two-second-plus margin.
After the restart and a half a lap away from the checkered flag, Sage Karam crashed on the backstretch and brought out the yellow flag as the leader entered turn 3. The yellow and the checkered flag flew, clinching the Indianapolis 500 victory for Ericsson.
Here’s a list of every accident that occurred during Sunday’s race.
NEVER MISS A MOMENT: Follow our sports newsletter for daily updates
Lap 39: Rinus VeeKay crashes in turn 2
Rinus VeeKay, the third-place starter, became the first driver of the day to make contact with the wall. VeeKay had recently finished his first green-flag pit stop and was running in the third position when his car snapped and crashed into the turn 2 wall. The Dutch driver climbed out of his car under his own power and was taken to the infield medical center. He was checked and released not long afterwards.
VeeKay was the first of three drivers to crash within the first 100 laps. A combination of wind, heat and rain made conditions difficult throughout the two weeks of practice leading up to the race. VeeKay described the track as “a little dusty” after leaving the medical center.
“Sad and disappointed, not just for me, really for the whole team,” VeeKay said. “Everyone’s working so hard, having sleepless nights just to give me the best possible car they can give me and I have to finish the job and I didn’t today, so I feel like I’m letting the team down.”
Lap 70: Callum Ilott spins and crashes hard in turn 2
Much like Rinus VeeKay earlier, rookie Callum Ilott had a big hit in turn 2 on lap 70. Ilott appeared to lose control in the apex of the corner when the car snapped and spun 360 degrees before hitting head-on into the wall. Ilott’s No. 77 then slid and into the inside wall on the backstretch. Ilott emerged from the car, but was visibly disappointed to end his first Indianapolis 500 in the wall. The accident affected Alex Palou’s race as well. Palou was penalized for entering a closed pit. He had just committed to pit when the yellow flag waved and needed to re-fuel.
Callum Ilott became the second driver at the 2021 Indianapolis 500 to crash after wiping out around Turn 2. After a lengthy examination, he emerged from the medical center and told reporters he had a fractured wrist.
“Just lost it in the middle,” he said. “Maybe a gust of wind and it just went around on me.”
Ilott began the race in 19th position. It was his first 500.
“There’s a lot to learn from it all,” he said. “Obviously I have to look at the positives. It’s done now. I can’t change the end result, but yeah, what an amazing place. Incredible spectacle.”
He doesn’t expect the broken wrist to hinder him in future races this season.
“I had a little bit of an issue with the right hand, but we’ll see how it goes,” said Ilott to NBC Sports after being released from the infield medical center. His hand was bandaged, but he was otherwise ok.
Lap 106: Romain Grosjean becomes turn 2’s third victim
Just past halfway, Romain Grosjean brought out the third caution of the day with a spin and crash in Turn 2. Grosjean, in his first Indianapolis 500, lost control of the car in a similar fashion to Rinus VeeKay and Callum Ilott before him. The Frenchman had been running in the top-10 most of the race before his accident. He was able to climb out of the car with no necessary assistance.
After emerging from the medical center, the rookie said he felt well enough physically to return to the race despite his smashed car. He began the race in ninth position.
Grosjean said he didn’t know what exactly happened with his car on the crash; he would have to go back and look at the data on the car.
“I want to finish the race right now,” he said. “I’m not happy with the day, but it’s been a crazy experience.”
Lap 152: Scott McLaughlin slams Turn 3 and 4 walls
The former Australian Supercars champion in his second attempt at the Indianapolis 500 crashed hard in the north chute. McLaughlin lost control of the car in turn 3, slammed the outside SAFER Barrier, then slid down the track while narrowly avoiding other cars before hitting the outside wall again in turn 4. McLaughlin was able to exit the car with no visible issues, but was visibly dejected.
“The wind got me, obviously,” McLaughlin said. “Tough conditions, but all month it’s been pretty tough for everyone.
“It was the biggest hit of my career for sure. Everyone says when you have a shot in the air it’s pretty big and it certainly felt that way. But, anyway, we’re okay, the Chevy’s a bit dented up, I’ve got a little bruise. But we’ll come back stronger in Detroit.”
Lap 194: Jimmie Johnson’s first Indy 500 ends just 6 laps too early
Turn 2 claimed another victim. Jimmie Johnson, who had just led a lap under pit cycles, clipped the apron just a bit too much and spun around, hitting nearly head-on into the outside wall. Johnson’s crash brought out a red flag while his teammate Marcus Ericsson was heading towards certain victory. A red flag was thrown to get the debris cleaned up and to ensure a green-flag finish. Johnson exited the car under his own power.
Lap 199: Sage Karam crashes on the backstretch and ends the race
Half a lap away from the checkered flag, Sage Karam crashed on the backstretch and brought out the yellow flag as the leader entered turn 3. The yellow and the checkered flag flew, clinching the Indianapolis 500 victory for Marcus Ericsson. Karam climbed out of his car under his own power. He passed concussion protocol, but will undergo further evaluation for skeletal pa