Tom Blomqvist Benched After First-Corner Indy 500 Crash

Meyer Shank Racing announced on Wednesday that Tom Blomqvist will step aside as a driver after his first corner crash during the Indianapolis 500. The wreck ended his pursuit for glory, as well as collecting 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and Pietro Fittipaldi. Four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves will replace Blomqvist for the next two IndyCar Series races, Detroit and Road America.

The crash was described as a rookie error by James Hinchcliffe on the NBC broadcast. As the field navigated Turn 1 for the first time, Blomqvist arched his car too low through the corner. The car rode the bumper strip, got unsettled and spun. He was just a passenger as the car slid towards the outside wall and slammed into Ericcson. Blomqivst was scored 31st out of 33, ahead of Ericcson and Fittipaldi. Team co-owner Mike Shank said in a statement:

“Making this decision was by far the hardest one we have had to make. Tom is 100% still a part of the MSR family and will remain a part of the team for the rest of the season. The decision was not made lightly and after much discussion with Tom, and with back-to-back races coming up, we have decided to have Helio drive in Detroit and at Road America.”

The son of 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist might be an IndyCar Series rookie, but he’s also a decorated sports car driver. He won the 2022 IMSA SportsCar Championship with MSR along with victories in the 2022 and 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona. It’s unclear what will happen after Helio’s two-race stint, but Blomqvist is still with MSR for the time being. He said:

“It is fair to say that the last couple of days have been some of the hardest in my career. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love being a part of the MSR family and together we have enjoyed some amazing successes and victories. I am looking forward to remaining part of the MSR family and contributing to the MSR vision as we chase down further successes in the future.”

Part of the Indianapolis 500’s appeal is how high the stakes are. Besides the physical peril of racing at speeds over 220 miles per hour, there was $18.4 million on the line in Sunday’s race. Winner Josef Newgarden got a check for $4.2 million. Blomqvist’s first corner exit got his team a paltry $156,300 payday. While the thrill of victory is intoxicating, the agony of defeat is devastating. I hope that this isn’t the last we see of Blomqvist in IndyCar.

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