By David Morgan, Associate Editor
The 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 ended with only two cautions, both of which came as a result of issues on pit road.
Stefan Wilson spun on pit road on lap 35 to bring out the first caution, with the second involving Graham Rahal shortly after leaving pit road on lap 119.
Rahal had come to the attention of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing crew for his third pit stop of the day, but the crew failed to get the left rear tire fully secure before Rahal left his pit box to head back out onto the track. As he was getting up to speed on the access road in Turn 2, the wheel came off of his No. 15 Honda, sending Rahal spinning out of control in front of the leaders and hard into the outside wall.
After dislodging itself from Rahal’s car, the tire bounced off of the outside wall and ricocheted back into traffic in the path of Conor Daly’s oncoming car. Daly hit the tire head on, launching it skyward and causing damage to the nose of his United States Air Force sponsored Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.
Thankfully, Rahal would be able to climb from his car unhurt, but after having a car capable of competing for the win, he was visibly upset of losing the chance to see how the race would play out down the stretch.
“We had them,” a dejected Rahal said. “I think from a strategy standpoint we had saved the fuel. We were kicking their butts on the fuel save that we were looking really good there at the end to maybe even do just one more stop. I know there was a long way to go, but we were looking good…We actually short pitted the last time and could have gone a bit further.
“These days don’t come around very often and definitely today, I thought we had them. I’m glad I’m okay. The boys did an excellent job all month. I’m not disappointed. I know there is a lot off pressure on their shoulders and everybody is trying hard, but I think this one is going to sting.”
Prior to the incident, Daly led the most laps of the race, pacing the field for 40 laps in front of a slew of fans cheering on the Indiana native, but after the crash, his car was never the same, eventually taking the checkered flag in 13th.