Crashes take several big name drivers out of Indy 500

The damaged No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet of Danica Patrick is loaded back into the garage in Gasoline Alley after retirement in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo courtesy: IndyCar Series/Joe Skibinski)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The 102nd Indianapolis  500 tied for the second-hottest 500 in race history with a high temperature of 91 degrees.  The warm weather created a slick track playing a role in several accidents involving high-profile drivers.

Danica Patrick’s racing career came to an end with a crash on lap 68.  She spun exiting turn two and hit the wall bringing out the third caution flag of the day.  The Ed Carpenter Racing driver finished 30th, her worst career finish in the Indy 500 after six top ten finishes.

“I do feel like it was pretty unexpected,” said Patrick.  “But on the other end, the car was little bit positive today and it was turning a little bit more than I wanted it to.  I had to chase it a lot.”

Patrick is retiring from driving after stints in the IndyCar Series and NASCAR.  She also raced in the Daytona 500 this year as part of her “Danica Double” finishing 35th.

“It was definitely not the way I wanted to end,” Patrick said.  “I wouldn’t want to end it any year like that, but being the last one it makes it a lot worse.  I did have some good moments here this month.  I won’t forget that either and I won’t forget all of the fans, so thank you.”

Three-time 500 champion Helio Castroneves’s bid for a fourth victory ended on lap 147 when he spun coming out of turn four.  He hit the inside wall, then slid down the pit lane.  The Penske driver was running at the front most of the day.  He finished 27th.

“It’s never a good day when you’re walking down the pit lane,” Castroneves told Indy Sports Central.  “It’s a shame.  The car was good.  I misjudged.  About 50 laps to go, that’s the time to turn up about the juice.  Unfortunately, it caught up.  I didn’t expect that.  I hope Rogers gives me another chance to come back next year.”

Team owner Roger Penske heard his plea.  Castroneves tweeted Monday morning that he will be back for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 next May.

Former Indy 500 champions, Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan also wrecked.  Sato was involved in the only multi-car incident of the race, running into the back of James Davison.

Ed Jones, Sebastien Bourdais and Sage Karam also crashed.  There was seven caution flags for a total of 41 laps.