IndyCar: Bizarre moment leads to first Indy 500 caution flag

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, IndyCar, Indy 500 - Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, IndyCar, Indy 500 - Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

Thanks to an animal’s quick thinking, the first caution flag of Indy 500 fortunately did not take place as a result of an on-track incident.

On the first of two days of the Indy 500 open test session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month, one of the major storylines was the pit road exit lane and the fact that drivers kept spinning coming out of the pits with no warning whatsoever, bringing out multiple caution flags throughout the day.

But on the first official day of practice for the 106th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer), the first caution flag had nothing to do with an on-track incident — though it was a close call.

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Just before 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday afternoon, roughly an hour into the first official Indy 500 practice session of the year following the oval veterans practice session and the rookie orientation program and refresher test earlier in the day, a fox emerged from the Miller Lite Party Deck area and ran across the track in the short chute between turns three and four.

While it didn’t go straight across the track at first, the fox was able to jump through the fence in the short chute.

It exited the track just moments before several cars passed through the area at full speed and the caution flag flew.

Have a look at the bizarre moment below.

It was slightly reminiscent of the fox that decided to cross the track late in the August 2015 race at Pocono Raceway, bringing out a caution flag for “wildlife”. It was this yellow flag that led to the famous seven-wide battle on the ensuing restart.

The opening Indy 500 practice session of the week is scheduled to run through 6:00 p.m. ET this evening. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, additional practice sessions are scheduled to take place from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

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Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 21 and at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 22. The race itself is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 29.