Marcus Ericsson wins Indianapolis 500 in frantic shootout as pit penalty leads to heartbreak for leader Scott Dixon

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Marcus Ericsson held on in a frantic two-lap shootout after a late red flag on Sunday to with the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500.

After starting the race in fifth position, the 31-year-old Swedish former Formula 1 driver took a lead into the red-caution stoppage and maintained it throughout the late sprint to secure his first Indianapolis 500 win in front of a crowd of more than 325,000 fans.

More heartbreak for favorite Scott Dixon

Meanwhile, Scott Dixon found heartbreak at Indianapolis again. The six-time IndyCar Series champion secured pole position and led for much of Sunday. He lost the lead on lap 177 after being hit with a speeding penalty on pit row during his final pit stop with 23 laps to go.

The penalty dropped Dixon from first to near the back of the pack, ending any hope of winning his second Indianapolis 500 after dominating most of the race. Considered many to be the greatest IndyCar driver of his era, the New Zealand racer won the 500 in 2008 and claims three second-place finishes.

Jimmie Johnson crash sets up final sprint

Jimmie Johnson also found heartbreak late in the race. The seven-time NASCAR series champion spun out on turn 2 with six laps remaining and crashed hard into the wall, marking a disappointing end to his Indianapolis 500 debut. The wreck brought out the red flag, forcing all cars to pit in an effort to avoid ending the race under caution.

After a seven-minute delay, the cars left pit road under caution before racing resumed at full speed for the final two laps. Mexico's Patricio O'Ward challenged Ericsson for the lead, briefly overtaking him on the outside before before Ericsson sprinted back to the front for good.

With the win, Ericsson leaps from eighth place to first in the IndyCar Series points standings thanks to the double points awarded at Indianapolis.

After the race, he relished the customary bottle of cold milk awarded the winner.

Castroneves finishes strong after starting 27th

O'Ward finished in second, just short of his bid to become Mexico's first Indianapolis 500 winner. Tony Kanaan, Felix Rosenqvist and Indiana native Conor Daly rounded out the top 5. Four-time winner and defending champion Helio Castroneves moved up from his 27th position to start the race to finish in seventh.

Marcus Ericsson, of Sweden, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Marcus Ericsson celebrates his Indianapolis 500 win. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Dixon, meanwhile finished in a disappointing 21st place, another bitter end in Indianapolis that saw him overtake the late Al Unser for the most career laps led at the race. Dixon took the career lead on the 75th lap Sunday, his 645th lap led at the legendary 200-lap race.

Chaos in turn 2

Johnson earned a DNF after his late crash at turn 2, which was the site for four collisions on Sunday and responsible for all but one of the race's caution flags. Rinus Veekay got loose in turn 2 and slammed into the outside wall during lap 36, drawing the first caution flag of the day.

Rookie Callum Ilott then spun out and crashed into the turn 2 wall during lap 70. Ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean crashed into the turn 2 wall on lap 107, marking an early end to his Indy 500 debut. Scott Mclaughlin also saw his day end early with a crash into the turn 3 wall on lap 151. All of the drivers who crashed appeared to escape their collisions without serious injury.

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