INDIANAPOLIS— For a few laps, Zach Veach was in the hunt to win the Indianapolis 500.
With 59 laps remaining in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Stockdale native was listed in fourth place and weaving his Honda in and out of traffic.
On lap 142, he took advantage of a yellow caution flag and pitted his No. 26.
But on lap 175, he had fallen back to 12th when he could not avoid a multiple car a crash on turn three.
Sebastian Bourdais and Graham Rahal made contact with each other entering the turn and triggered a five car accident that ended Veach’s day and brought out the red flag to temporarily halt the race.
Bourdais, Rahal, along with Felix Rosenqvist, Charlies Kimball and Veach were all knocked out of the race at the Brickyard.
Rahal had gone low to scoot past Bourdais when he was squeezed into the turn and both cars touched tires and that sent them into the fence.
Veach started the race in the 28th position and worked his way up throughout the race and broke the top 10 on lap 137.
This was by far the best race this year for the 24-year-old Andretti Autosport driver, and the best showing in Indy in his third appearance.
Two years ago as a rookie, Veach’s day ended with 45 laps to go with mechanical issues on turn three, and last year he finished toward the back of the pack due to his car catching fire three times.
But this year he was in the hunt before the unavoidable accident.
“I just hav to learn to be patient,” he said earlier in the month before he qualified. “This is a 500 mile race and you just want to put yourself in position to be there for the last 100 miles when it really counts.”
That is what Veach did, but the accident involving Bourdais and Rahal had far-reaching affects.
With the red flag and several laps of caution, Simon Pagenaud put himself in position to take the checkered flag.
He held off a charge by Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato to win his first Indianapolis 500.
Veach, who once attended Minford Elementary School, finished 29th.
“Such a solid day gone in an instant. Worked our way from 28th to 12th with 25 laps to go with a crash in front of us,” Veach said on his Twitter page. “A bit banged up but we’ll be ready for Detroit.”
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