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.