In a scary accident Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin spun low below the white line in turn 4 during practice last night and collected Charlie Kimball. Aleshin then made solid contact with the wall and was seriously injured. The catch fence sustained major damage as Aleshin’s wheel tore a hole through it. It was a nasty crash for the young comrade, who suffered serious injuries to his ribs, chest and shoulder and was also concussed. He’s in serious but stable condition this morning in the hospital. His car absolutely disintegrated and in the process tore up other cars as well as the facility. He’s very fortunate he’s not more badly hurt.
Photo from usatoday.com
Kimball reports he’s sore but all right. Marco was also involved, spinning to avoid the damaged cars. Due to the miscue, there will be one less starter in tonight’s race as Pagenaud loses his teammate in his championship debut. This helps Power in the points race as he moves up a starting spot from 21st to 20th.
Apart from the speeds, another safety issue at Auto Club Speedway is the debris, dust and sand on the Cali track. Ryan Hunter-Reay tweeted out a picture of his helmet after testing earlier this week and its face was sandblasted. This after less than 500 miles. He and other drivers have expressed concerns about visibility and having enough tear offs for the 500 mile race. The debris and sand are also a concern for the cars themselves, as radiators took a tremendous pounding last year and a number of cars retired with engine problems, particularly the Hondas. It’s a long endurance race tonight and it will be interesting to see if engine reliability has improved over last year.
Photo from Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Twitter feed
Welcome to Power’s breakdown, which is already in progress. He completely botched qualifying nearly wrecking his chariot and as a result starts second from last. As reported here, last week’s earthquake put the kibosh on his addled mind, or what’s left of it, and the effects are evident. He’s toast and the only question is how epic his meltdown tonight will be. We’ve predicted it’ll be on a grand scale, must see tv, “New Hampshire times ten.”
Photos from indysportscrew.com and dailytelgraph.com.au
That will make it Helio’s night for the chamionship and it would be his first IndyCar Series title in decades of racing, surprisingly. Helio’s deserving, an engaging personality and will be a good representative for the series. In a long shot, we also predicted Takuma Sato to win one more time for AJ Foyt. That surprise pick is looking better after qualifications as Sato will start fourth from the inside of the second row. While the pressure’s on, he’ll certainly have a great shot at it as they take the green flag tonight on the west coast. It’ll be an entertaining, wild ride under the lights for the finale – and that’s good as gold.
Photos from usatoday.com and speedsport-magazine.com