Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — One minute, Graham Rahal was a serious Indianapolis 500 contender. The next, he was hitting his helmet in disbelief.

And just that quickly, the 32-year-old American’s day was over.

Rahal entered the pits with the lead as Lap 119 started. When he returned to the oval, a loose left rear fire fell off. The costly miscue sent the No. 15 Honda spinning into the second turn wall, leaving him stranded on the track and a bouncing tire in front of Conor Daly’s oncoming car.

“We were cruising,” a frustrated Rahal said after being checked and released from the infield care center. “We had it today and like I said, I’m just sorry we didn’t win this thing because we should have.”

Rahal had positioned himself to join Al Unser and Al Unser Jr. as the only father-son tandems with 500 victories. Bobby Rahal won the race in 1986.

After qualifying 18th with a four-lap average of 230.521 mph, Rahal strategically started climbing. He avoided getting caught in a wild first round of pit stops, which sent two Indy winners — pole-sitter Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi — to the back of the field.

And though he made only three on-track passes, Rahal was conserving enough fuel to stay in the top 10 and jumped back into the top spot during the third cycle of stops. Then the wheel rolled off and it was all for naught as the nose of Daly’s car appeared to hit the bouncing wheel.

Fortunately, the aeroscreen protected Daly’s head as the wheel flew high into the air.


After struggling on qualifying weekend, Team Penske’s problems returned Sunday — even before the race started.

First, Simon Pagenaud’s crew on the No. 22 Chevrolet were forced to repair a leak in the coolant system before the green flag waved.

Then Will Power’s No. 12 car wouldn’t start when the other 32 cars drove out for the parade laps. After it finally fired, the Aussie driver quickly started picking his way through the field. He climbed up to No. 6 with 50 laps to go. Three laps later, Power’s brake pressure bottomed out, forcing a spin in the pits to knock him out of contention.

Pagenaud, the 2019 Indy winner, had a team-best third-place finish.


The first round of pit stop had a major impact on the race.

Three-time 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter was running in the top five when he came in and stalled the No. 20 Chevrolet, costing him precious seconds.

A few minutes later, Stefan Wilson brought the No. 25 Honda in too fast and locked up the brakes, sending the car spinning into the outside pit wall. Wilson was out of the race after just 32 laps.

“Got called into the pit a little late,” Wilson said. “Just devastated. This is not how I wanted it to end.”

A few minutes after that, because pit row was closed, pole-winner Dixon and Rossi both had to make emergency stops, which sent them to the back of the field. While it appeared fuel strategy might have put Dixon back in contention late, neither really recovered. D

Dixon finished 17th while Rossi was 29th.


More AP auto racing: and