Former Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin crashed out of the Indy 500 on a day of total carnage at the iconic US motor race.

Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson won the Indianapolis 500 on Monday (AEST), holding off Pato O’Ward in a two-lap shootout after a late red flag halted the race.

Ericsson was leading O’Ward by more than a second when Jimmie Johnson’s crash with five laps remaining brought out the red flag in the 200-lap classic at the famed 4km Indy oval.

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“Those 10 minutes sitting there in the pit lane during that red flag was some of the hardest 10 minutes of my life,” Ericsson said.

When the green flag waved for full-speed racing with two laps remaining, Ericsson withstood O’Ward’s attempt to pass early on the final lap to claim the victory.

“Pato had a really good run on me,” Ericsson said.

“I just kept my foot down and that was the race-winning move. He made me work for it, for sure.”

Ericsson became the second Swede to win the race after Kenny Brack in 1999.

Brazil’s Tony Kanaan finished third as his teammate Scott Dixon endured another Indy 500 heartbreak after starting from pole.

New Zealand veteran Dixon, who won from pole in 2008, led much of the race but was handed a pit lane speed violation for not driving slow enough on his final pit stop.

“Come on! Are you serious?” Dixon yelled into his radio as he was informed of the violation that sent him to the back of the pack.

It was the fourth time Dixon, a six-time IndyCar series champion had started from pole and failed to win the iconic race. He has been runner-up three times.

Johnson’s crash was one of several that brought out the caution flag.

British rookie Callum Ilott crashed heavily at Turn 2 on lap 70. He walked away, suffering a right hand injury.

Dutchman Rinus VeeKay, who started third on the grid, had a spectacular crash when his car burst into flames after he collided into the wall while in second place.

“Just got loose down in the middle of Turn 2,” the commentator said.

“Wow, fireball. That gearbox explodes, dumps probably all the oil out.”

VeeKay eventually stepped from the car under his own steam.

Kiwi Scott McLaughlin was also forced out of the race when he slammed into the wall twice in a heavy collision he described as the “biggest hit of my life”.

He said a gust of wind contributed to the crash that ended his day on the 151st lap.

The three-time Supercars champion said his only injury was “a bruised ego” as he raced in front of his family for the first time in 31 months.

“The wind’s tricky, it’s getting higher and higher and it just caught me out there,” McLaughlin said.

“It snapped on me, and I was a passenger from there. It is what it is. First shunt at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I’m really gutted. We were in a good spot there.”

McLaughlin started 26th out of the 33-strong field and had managed to move up into the top 12 before his crash.

The race capped a dramatic weekend of crashes, including a spectacular incident in practice that saw Colton Herta’s car flip end-over-end and slide down the track upside down.

Australia’s Will Power, who was leading the overall IndyCar championship this season prior to the IndyCar, finished 15th.

He is now fourth in the standings behind Ericsson, O’Ward and Alex Palo on 202 points.

With AFP

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