Vitor Meira aside, injuries to those drivers involved in accidents during the Indianapolis 500 appear to have been slight, with pride and machinery suffering the most hurt.

No fewer than eight caution periods were needed to deal with wrecked cars and debris following brushes with the wall, but the majority of those affected were able to walk away with minor bumps and bruises.

Between Marco Andretti and Mario Moraes' lap one spat [see separate story here] and the Meira-Raphael Matos clash that left the older Brazilian in hospital [here], some seven drivers found the wall, including veteran Tony Kanaan, who admitted that he had been lucky to walk away from his double impact [here]. The rest, however, were more embarrassed than anything.

Ryan Hunter-Reay kept the ball rolling by bouncing his IZOD-backed Vision Racing entry from the outside wall at turn four all the way down the pit-lane after being forced to lift to avoid a slower car. Prior to that, the #21 had climbed from 32nd at the start to run 25th on lap 15.

"AJ Foyt IV was really loose and checked up in turn three and four," Hunter-Reay reported, "I followed him in there too closely, and that's my fault. I got a big aero wash and I was a passenger from there on. That put me in the grey and into the wall. It's a shame to have to have that happen trying to get around a car that's almost disabled, but I guess that's Indy."

Hunter-Reay was checked, cleared and released from the infield care centre and was classified back in 32nd place.

Graham Rahal was the next to bow out, the Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver all but replicating his exit from last year's Indianapolis race when he too washed up into the turn four wall. Like Hunter-Reay, he wasn't exactly complimentary about the slower traffic that he felt had contributed to his exit.

"We all caught traffic, basically," he reflected, "Milka [Duno] got in front of me, and she was absolutely clueless. She would go low like she was going to let everybody by, but then she'd go fast enough where you can't get by her. She would come out on track and run you real tight. I tried to go half a car width up in [turn] four and [the car] just went straight. Same thing I had last year, so I'm really upset and disappointed."

NHLR team-mate Robert Doornbos went further but fared little better, finding the wall in his first 500 to cap an already expensive Month of May in which he crashed both his primary and back-up machines.

"I was so happy that we finally started racing today - I wanted to get going," the Dutchman commented, "I think we were on schedule because we made up eight places and were running in the top 15 a quarter through the race, but then Tomas [Scheckter] made an over-optimistic pass in turn one. He was very late and left me nowhere to go on the marbles. It felt like forever, forever as the wall was getting closer.

"I only just brushed it, but we bent something and that was our day basically. We went back to the garage and changed the right rear upper and lower wishbone and got back out to get some points and experience, but we had poor brakes - it felt like we had some liquid from the brakes leaking on the rear end, which made to car feel really loose. It's very unfortunate, because [Scheckter] could have tried to pass a bit later and we would still be running."

Indianapolis' reputation for treating rookies and veterans alike was confirmed when Davey Hamilton joined those on the sidelines after contact. The experienced campaigned suffered a frustrating day in the Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing Honda, with a shifting problem early in the event and handling issues from lap 55. Unfortunately, the handling became worse, leading to contact with the outside wall at turn three on lap 82.

"The car was the same as we had on Friday in Carb Day, but I got in the marbles and white-walled the tyres in turn three," Hamilton remarked, "Then I was just trying the slow the car down. That put us out of the race. It was hard to pass today and, if you tried to make an outside move, it was easier to get into the marbles and the wall. It wasn't kind of day we wanted."

Nelson Philippe's #00 HVM Racing entry also suffered race-ending damage after brushing the wall, the Frenchman rattling the turn four barriers on lap 131. Again, Philippe reported that he had been forced to alter his line to avoid another car, but the contact damage was enough that the #00 could not return to the track.

"I was coming out of the pits and I got passed by a few cars," he commented, "I'm not sure who it was, but someone put me in the marbles and there was no catching the car from there. It was an unfortunate end to a pretty good day."

The final incident before the Matos-Meira clash befell Justin Wilson, who had earlier suffered a red-faced moment when he rotated the Dale Coyne car in pit-lane. The crew had to let all other traffic go past before recovering the situation, and Wilson made amends by gradually working his way back through the pack to a highest position of tenth. All this good work was undone when, under another yellow, he lost eleven places in a single pit-stop and, pressing on, lost the #18 at turn one.

"I'm very disappointed that we've not been able to finish the race, as everyone at Dale Coyne Racing has worked hard this month and I thought we were in for a reasonable finish," the Briton lamented, "The car was running well but, after my last pit-stop, we weren't moving forwards. A couple of cars went past me and I lost downforce. The car started to turn towards the wall and I tried to get it back down, but couldn't save it."

Like Hunter-Reay, all were unhurt in their respective incidents and, where applicable, will be back on track for this weekend's fifth round at Milwaukee. Philippe and Hamilton, however, will remain on the sidelines, having only had deals for Indianapolis.