Paulie Harraka makes embarrasing rookie mistake even before Sprint Cup race debut

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With tight turns and limited passing areas, beating and banging is expected on a road course. But Paulie Harraka and Alex Kennedy took things to a whole other level in their respective Sprint Cup debuts Sunday.

Now, if they could only have hit the rewind button instead of each other.

Harraka, who comes from New Jersey, the same state as Sunday’s race winner, Martin Truex Jr., couldn’t have had a more embarrassing start to his Cup career.

Harraka didn’t even wait to make the mistake on the race track. He plowed into the rear of Kennedy’s stopped car – while both cars were still on pit road, waiting to roll out onto the track for the two parade laps prior to the start of the race!

To be fair, it might have been rookie jitters. Or maybe Harraka confused the gas pedal with the brake.

That, or maybe Harraka was texting and didn’t look up until it was too late.

After all, there’s not much of a better explanation, given how Harraka put the pedal to the metal at the worst possible time, causing major damage to both drivers’ vehicles.

Because cars were bunched up rolling off pit road, David Reutimann was forced to stop as the parade of cars in front of him slowed down abruptly.

Kennedy stopped, too.

But like someone who rear-ends a driver stopped in front of him at a red light, Harraka just kept on going until BAM!

Kennedy’s car definitely was worse for the wear. After repairs were made, he managed to complete just 30 laps of the 110-lap event before calling it a day with a 40th-place finish.

Harraka’s crew, meanwhile, was able to repair much of the damage on his own car and he wound up finishing 39th in the race, 21 laps off the lead lap.

Hinch boldly “goes” where many drivers have gone before

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One of the most common questions racing drivers face is “What happens if you have to use the bathroom when you’re driving?”

And the most common answer is “You just go.” While admittedly a little disgusting, it is nonetheless a problem that occasionally surfaces, and an innumerable amount of drivers have done so in their careers.

However, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe apparently had never found himself in such a predicament in his career. That is, until Sunday in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

While under the first red flag for rain, Hinchcliffe started to receive “nature’s call.” Unable to get out of the car to use a restroom – drivers had not been permitted to get out of their cars – Hinchcliffe was forced to wait and hold it.

But when the cars briefly took to the track again prior to a second red flag, it became too much to handle, and Hinch was forced to “relieve himself” while circulating under caution.

“I always maintained that I knew at some point in my career it would happen,” he quipped to NBCSN’s Kevin Lee.”

He added, “I was sitting there under that first red (flag), just begging to get three minutes. That’s all you need, (steering wheel off to wheel on). And when we got going again, my legs were shaking, I had to go so bad. I’m like ‘I can’t drive a race car like this.’ So under caution, it took me a full lap, it was one of the least comfortable experiences of my entire life, but I can officially say I’ve joined the likes of Will Power, Dario Franchitti, and other greats that have peed themselves in their suit.”

Social media reaction added to the moment’s hilarity, with SPM and teammate Robert Wickens weighing in.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal also chimed in, coming to Hinchcliffe’s defense.

Hinchcliffe, fully refreshed, will restart the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in fifth when racing resumes on Monday.

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