IndyCar driver James Davison entered Sunday's Indy 500 looking for a top finish during the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. However, his day came to an early end before he completed 10 laps. Davison's tire caught on fire and then exploded.
The incident first drew attention when Davison drove into view with his front right tire engulfed in flames. The announcers did not initially know how the blaze started, but they knew that Davison would no longer contend for the victory. Safety crews extinguished the fire and then removed the car from the track while the announcers examined the replay. Ultimately, they determined that the fire appeared to start when the brake rotor became too hot.
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"Well, they are using Firestone tires," one person joked after learning that Davison had avoided danger. Others began asking how the fire actually started. One Twitter user expressed concern about possible track temperature issues, but another person voiced a different opinion. They proclaimed that Davison had hit the wall earlier, which created the issue.
According to Rick Ware Racing, Davison headed to the infield care center following the frightening moment. He underwent examination but was released. He later conducted an interview detailing the explosion.
"The front brakes stuck on, and in the end, the temperature went through the roof," Davison said. "Obviously, very disappointed. It's incredible to go out of the Indy 500 within the first couple of laps under those circumstances. I can't remember whenever something like that has occurred. ... Then again, it's still 2020."
Following the explosion, safety crews removed Davison's car from the track. They then cleaned up the debris that had landed on the track and set the stage for a restart. The pace car led the remaining cars around the oval until the green flag waved once again. However, the action soon came to a pause once again.
Marcus Ericsson also saw his day come to an early end after his car caught on fire. He seemingly lost control coming out of Turn 1 and slammed violently into the wall. This collision destroyed the tires on the right side of the car. Ericsson skidded to a halt while flames began licking at his seat. He was able to extricate himself — with some help from emergency personnel — and then the safety crews extinguished the fire.