Simon Pagenaud was able to walk away from a frighting crash during IndyCar practice at Mid-Ohio Saturday.
The Meyer Shank Racing driver went straight at the end of the longest straight on the course with the car going airborne then touching down in the gravel then rolled nine times before being pinned up against a barrier.
Pagenaud was quickly out of the car and members of the AMR Safety Crew were on the scene rapidly. The driver sat for a moment to catch his breath before walking to the medical car with a customary wave to the crowds.
Pagenaud later said his first thought as the crash began was “oh shit, this is going to hurt!” and was convinced something had broken on the car. He compared it to a similar crash for Michael Andretti in the 1998 CART race at the track.
“Something broke, for sure, I couldn’t slow down,” Pagenaud added. “I tried to make the corner anyway. I know the gravel is deadly. Michael Andretti has done it, I guess I’m joining another legend. So that’s cool.
“That was just trying to bail out but it’s downhill, which is nuts.
“Basically the car took off, I hit the gravel and it just rolled and rolled.
“I’m glad I didn’t go over the tire wall and so glad we have the aeroscreen. I’m really thankful for IndyCar and the aeroscreen for safety.”
Initial reports are that Pagenaud’s car didn’t have brakes and the team was prepping a back up car for their driver. If Pagenaud is cleared to return, the team will attempt to qualify later in the day. Shortly after his interview IndyCar released a statement and said that Pagenaud has not been cleared to return to racing today (Saturday). He will be re-evaluated tomorrow (Sunday) morning.
“I’m ready, I can get back in now, I’m ready to go,” said Pagenaud.
“It’s going to be the doctor’s decision. It was a pretty big hit. We’ll see what they say. There’s a protocol to follow and again that’s to keep the drivers safe.
“Very unfortunate for us. Hell of a ride. We got some TV time I guess.”
Scary incident in practice 2 for @simonpagenaud.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) July 1, 2023
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