Marcus Ericsson and Linus Lundqvist involved in separate wrecks during Indy 500 preparations

INDIANAPOLIS — (AP) — Former Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and rookie Linus Lundqvist were involved in separate crashes during a busy day of practice Thursday, leaving their teams with a lot of extra work ahead of qualifying this weekend.

Ericsson, who was passed by Josef Newgarden on the last lap a year ago trying to defend his 2022 title, touched the curb at the bottom of the track going through Turns 3 and 4. That shot him into the outside wall, where his car sustained heavy damage on the left-hand side, before the No. 28 from Andretti Global skidded to a rest at the entrance to pit lane.

The 33-year-old from Sweden crashed with about 2 hours left in what had been the first dry practice of the week.

“I think we were in good shape,” Ericsson said, “but obviously you have a big crash like this. It sets everything back to zero.”

Earlier in the day, Lundqvist made a similar mistake as his fellow Swede going through Turns 1 and 2, shooting into the outside wall in the first wreck of Indy 500 preparations. The No. 8 entry from Chip Ganassi Racing sustained heavy damage to the right rear before skidding across the track and through the grass, where it finally came to rest.

“It's my mistake. I know exactly what I did,” said Lundqvist, who had posted the fastest four-lap average of the practice at 224.994 mph. “I touched the curb in 2 and I couldn't hold onto it. It's something that you talk about often around this place, but it's just a mistake on my part and obviously the team pays the price for it.”

Ganassi is chasing a sixth Indy 500 win by attempting to qualify five cars this weekend. That includes three rookies — Lundqvist, Marcus Armstrong and Kyffin Simpson — along with 2008 winner Scott Dixon and two-time series champion Alex Palou.

“It goes so fast, especially when you’re down there and you realize where you’re at. It’s kind of too late,” Lundqvist said. “It’s a small mistake. Easy to happen. But obviously, big consequences.”

Rain washed out Tuesday and most of Wednesday, and more rain was in the forecast for Friday, leaving the 34 cars trying to make the 33-car field for the 108th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” trying to squeeze in as many laps as possible.

NASCAR star Kyle Larson, trying to become the fifth driver in history to attempt the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, spent much of Thursday's practice session out of the race car as his Arrow McLaren team tinkered with setups.

Larson finally got to make some laps in qualifying trim with a couple of hours left in practice before settling in for the night.

“We’re going to go get dinner tonight and just kind of relax,” Larson said. “It’s honestly been really relaxing here. There’s not really any logistics craziness that happens until this weekend, and then next weekend. It’s all been fine.”


AP Motorsports: