The night/final practice for the MAVTV 500 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway was cut short after a horrific accident involving several drivers.
Mikhail Aleshin No.7 SMP Racing Honda spun out down low in Turn Four, spun up high to the safety fence and was unavoidably hit by Charlie Kimball No.83 NovoLog Flex Pen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Aleshin went up into the safety fence, tearing it apart, up in the air and landed down in Pit Lane. A wheel and wheel tether landed over the wall. Taking great care, Aleshin was extracted from the car, put on a stretcher and transported.
Kimball walked away, as did Marco Andretti No.25 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda. Several other cars were caught in the melee, including KVSH Chevrolet teammates, Sebastien Bourdais No.11 and Sebastian Saavedra No.17, and Jack Hawksworth No.98 Castrol Edge BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian Honda. All the other drivers are allright.
An update from the IndyCar Medical Director, Michael Olinger, said that Aleshin was conscious and being air lifted to Loma Linda Medical Center, complaining of injuries to right shoulder and right foot.
This was the first incident of the weekend.
Kimball, who was checked in the infield care center and cleared to race, was interviewed afterwards, in the garage, by Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times, while Kimball watched his team repairing his car. Kimball told Peltz “The 7 car spun from the bottom and I really had nowhere to go.”
The safety fence panel will require replacing.
The session, scheduled for half an hour was ended – after 19 minutes.
At the end, Ryan Briscoe No.8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was fastest, running 218.660 mph. He was followed by Scott Dixon No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, and Will Power No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Kimball was running fourth when he was hit. James Hinchcliffe No.27 United Fiber & Data Andretti Autosport Honda was fifth.
Left to Right: Charlie Kimball, Sebastien Bourdais & James Hinchcliffe.
Aleshin was running fourteenth when the accident occurred.
Juan Pablo Montoya No.2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet had a less than stellar evening, finishing in P20
Power is still the points leader. He was the first out of the chute when the session opened. The Aussie went out and came back, twice in quick succession, for tire changes, and then a third time for data download/dump.