Big wreck collects Hinchcliffe, Vautier, and more in Texas (VIDEO)

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The Rainguard Water Sealers 600 from Texas Motor Speedway has been red flagged 154 laps in due to a huge pileup involving several cars in turns three and four.

James Hinchcliffe, running in the top five at the time, was pinched in between Tony Kanaan and teammate Mikhail Aleshin entering turn three and broke loose. While he tried correcting it, he collected Aleshin and Tristan Vautier, with all three cars impacting the outside wall.

In the aftermath, Carlos Munoz, Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter, JR Hildebrand, and Ryan Hunter-Reay were all caught up trying to avoid the wreck.

GANASSI, HINCHCLIFFE AND ALESHIN WEIGH IN

Kanaan’s team owner Chip Ganassi offered this viewpoint to NBCSN’s Katie Hargitt: “(Hinchcliffe) crashed in the pit lane (early in the race), he stuck his nose in that situation, why didn’t (he) stay right there? Instead he gets pushed into Tony.”

A frustrated Hinchcliffe told NBCSN’s Marty Snider that Kanaan moved up into him entering turn three. “I got a run off turn 2, (Kanaan) comes over, 2.5 car widths, he drives me straight into Mikhail. We were 3-wide. Spotter didn’t tell him, or he didn’t care. He usually doesn’t race like that,” he explained.

Told by Snider that Ganassi blamed Hinchcliffe, the Canadian promptly retorted, “That’s adorable.”

Aleshin, who was on the outside, explained that he felt like an innocent bystander. “I thought we’d all stay together. But then James touched with Kanaan and basically we all crashed. I thought we’d make it in three lines. James was there, Kanaan was there, and I didn’t understand what was going on. I gave space to them,” he told NBCSN’s Robin Miller.

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In total, only 11 cars are left running following the wreck, and a visibly frustrated Dale Coyne, who saw both of his cars (Vautier and Jones) caught up in the accident, was seen having words with Tony Kanaan about the incident during the red flag.

Both Ed Carpenter Racing crews were trying to repair their Nos. 20 and 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. Here were Carpenter’s and JR Hildebrand’s quotes.

Hildebrand: “Hinch got stuck in the middle. A few guys got three-wide. Two of the three ended in the wall. I was right behind Ed Jones. He jammed on the brakes. We were running so close. Even we broke at same time I had mad aero wash. We had a great second stint. The Fuzzy’s Vodka car was working great. I’m totally confident we would have hauled it back to the front.”

Carpenter: “For as big of a crash at it was it wasn’t that bad. We’ll try to pick up a few points and pass a few cars. It was a wild night.”

Both Dale Coyne Racing cars were taken out. Here was Tristan Vautier and Ed Jones’ comments:

Vautier: “There was nothing I could do. They tangled in front of me. It’s just a bummer. We could have fought for the win. I wanted to finish the race for my return. I raced hard. I wanted a solid finish. I’m kind of pissed off. I think we can be proud. We represented Seb well.”

Jones: “I got hit from the rear. I had so much fun out there. But some others didn’t respect the others, and that’s what caused the incident.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz were also involved in the accident for Andretti Autosport and AJ Foyt Racing.

Hunter-Reay: “I don’t know what I have to do. We spent the rest of the night trying to claw back. We missed the equation. This deal happened. Guys made too many moves late into the car. I’ll save my opinion after I look at it but sparks everywhere, I high-sided and came out a passenger from there. You can’t jump on the brakes in these cars 220 into the corner. I like it when races come down to handling. Lot of crazy moves. I was having fun.”

 

Munoz: “We were in the top 10, but needed a bit more speed. What can we say. We started last because we missed tech. I wanted to give a good race for my mechanics. It’s the most competitive car we’ve had this season. We kept running with the front guys. In ovals, when you have a multiple car crash, there’s nothing you can do.”

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Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.