Wilson and Legge crash heavily during Indianapolis 500 practice session
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Stefan Wilson was taken by ambulance to the hospital on Monday after a serious accident with Katherine Legge in practice for the Indianapolis 500, the first wreck of two weeks of preparation for the 107th edition of “The Greatest Show in Courses.”
Wilson was pinned down and wearing a neck brace, but was quickly given a thumbs up after the security team spent around 10 minutes carefully removing the British driver from his car. Legge, a fellow Brit, emerged from her crumpled machine alone.
The two were going through Turns 1 and 2 about an hour into the 2-hour session when the whole field seemed to slow down. Legge closed in on Wilson quickly and slammed into the back of his Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car, sending them skidding into the wall. Legge hit with a backward glance but Wilson was pointed almost in the face when he made contact with the SAFER barrier.
“I can tell you he’s fine,” said IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief medical officer Dr. Julia Vaizer, adding that Wilson was being taken to the hospital for advanced imaging. “He’s in a good mood.”
Wilson’s brother, Justin Wilson, was the last IndyCar driver killed at the track. He was racing in 2015 at Pocono when Sage Karam crashed in front of him, and a piece of the car hit Wilson in the helmet and sent him into the wall.
Legge is the only female driver in this year’s field, and she was the only struggling Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver who made the 33-car grid on the first day of qualifying. Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey joined her on Sunday when Harvey beat teammate Graham Rahal in the dying seconds with a dramatic qualifying run.
Legge’s team said they will attempt to repair their car in time for Carb Day on Friday, when teams will have one last chance on the track before the race. He was already removing broken pieces at the end of Monday’s session.
“I know it’s another blow for the team,” Legge said. “After yesterday, these guys don’t deserve it. That’s not true.”
Will Power paced the pack with a 229.22 mph lap on Monday, providing a burst of confidence for Team Penske, which only placed the 2018 Indy 500 winner in the Fast 12 of qualifying. Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato and pole sitter Alex Palou were next on another good day for Chip Ganassi Racing, which thrived in the same kind of heat expected on race day.
“We had vibration problems. I think we kind of went over that,” said Power, who completed 88 laps, the second-most in the session. “I think the car is pretty good. I think we are in a good position, a very good position.
Pato O’Ward, who will start fifth for Arrow McLaren, stopped training early as the team tried to diagnose a problem.
“We just found a big disparity from set to set,” he said. “It’s just frustrating because you know, one race will be fine and another will be, ‘What is this?’ We just have to analyze and see what’s going on, see if it’s a problem on our side or not.
Dale Coyne Racing was also struggling after an electrical problem in David Malukas’ car.
“We only managed one or two runs. We try to understand,” Malukas said. “We’re going to have a lot to do on Carb Day.”
LEFT RAHAL LOOKING
Some have wondered if Rahal Letterman Lanigan would buy his place on the pitch or replace Harvey with Graham Rahal after the son of team owner Bobby Rahal, who has a big sponsorship, failed to qualify. It didn’t happen.
“I don’t believe in buying my way,” Rahal said, while watching from Harvey’s stand. ” It’s going to be hard. Everyone has invested a lot in our team and the #15 car. This is by no means what we wish for them. But I also don’t think it’s fair to replace anyone here. All of these cars have to represent their sponsors as best they can for themselves.”
DO NOT BE TOO LONG
Just before the tests, the pilots had to line up alongside the BorgWarner Trophy on the famous brickyard for the traditional photograph of the terrain. Felix Rosenqvist, who will start third on Sunday, was the last to arrive, racing down pit road to take his place as the other 32 drivers cheered sarcastically for his arrival.
It wasn’t his only shame. Ed Carpenter Jr. was standing behind Rosenqvist’s stool, and with a quick hand and perfect timing, he pulled it out just as Rosenqvist took his place. Rosenqvist sprawled as the rest of the pilots laughed.
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