LOS ANGELES: IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud of France described a “hell of a ride” after walking away from a frightening rollover wreck during practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. “I’m talking, so it’s all good,” the 49-year-old former IndyCar champion said after his Meyer Shank Racing car went off the track minutes into pre-qualifying practice on Saturday, hit a gravel trap and rolled more than half a dozen times. Pagenaud was able to climb from the car and walk away, but after being checked and released from the on-site medical center he was still being monitored for concussion.
“I feel fine, but you’ve got to be careful with the brain,” he said. Pagenaud, who could be seen drawing his hands protectively into the cockpit as the car careened out of control, rolling more than half a dozen times. As safety personnel went to assist him, Pagenaud told the team via radio he was all right and after exiting he sat for a moment to collect himself, waving to fans as he walked to the safety vehicle. “It was a hell of a ride, that’s for sure,” Pagenaud said. “We had something go wrong and I couldn’t slow down.
“I tried to make the corner anyways. I know that gravel is deadly. Michael Andretti has done it, so I guess I joined another legend, so that’s cool.” The crash recalled one by Andretti 25 years ago when he rolled through a gravel trap at Mid-Ohio. “I was just trying to bail out,” Pagenaud said. “It’s downhill, which is nuts. The car took off, I hit the gravel and it just rolled. “I’m just glad I didn’t go over the tire wall,” said the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner.
“So glad that we have the aeroscreen,” he added of the protective polycarbonate and titanium windscreens on IndyCar race cars. IndyCar issued a brief statement on the crash. “Following this morning’s incident at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the driver of the No. 60, Simon Pagenaud, was evaluated and released by the IndyCar medical team.
As per IndyCar protocol, Pagenaud has not been cleared to return to racing today. “He will be re-evaluated (Sunday) morning.” Pagenaud said he was “ready,” but didn’t argue with the need to comply with the series’ concussion evaluation protocol. “We will see what they say,” he said. “But very unfortunate day for us. But I got some TV time, I guess.”- AFP