IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader Helio Castroneves is likely a bit worse for wear right now after sustaining cuts to his legs and a neck sprain in an Aug. 9 practice accident at Ribeirao Preto, Brazil.
The three-time Indianapolis 500 champ was preparing for a Stock Car Brasil street-course race when brake failure caused him to hit a concrete barrier and then go hard into a tire barrier.
He was able to get out of the car under his own power, but doctors ultimately kept him from racing in the main event last weekend at Ribeirao Preto.
According to Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star, Castroneves maintains that he was running at 120 miles per hour when the incident occurred and that the force of his impact was the highest ever recorded in series history.
“I did tell the guys that they needed to move the wall at the end of the straightaway; it was too close,” Castroneves said to Cavin for a Star piece that came out yesterday. “I told them, ‘If somebody loses their brakes right there, he’s going to hit that wall hard.'”
Per Cavin, track officials at Ribeirao Preto did move the barrier after Castroneves’ incident.
Castroneves currently holds a 31-point edge over Scott Dixon going into the next race on the IndyCar calendar, the GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway (Sun., Aug. 25, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN). However, he will take part in the series’ Open Test session at Sonoma on Wed., Aug. 21.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.