FONTANA, Calif. – Charlie Kimball was the victim of circumstances in Mikhail Aleshin’s accident during Friday night’s final practice for the MAVTV 500, the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway.
Kimball was running the high line through Turns 3 and 4 and Aleshin, who slowed through the corner and got two wheels below the white line, then spun up and collected Kimball.
“He went from the top to the bottom through 3 and 4, and it looked like rotated on him,” Kimball told MotorSportsTalk. “I saw tire smoke. I couldn’t tell if I’d be clear or if he’d come in behind me or in front of me. I had nowhere to go.
“I don’t know where he (hit). Last I saw, it looked like a T-bone wreck from my side.”
With a cracked tub on impact, the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet team switches to a backup for tonight’s race (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra). Kimball qualified sixth.
“It got into the tub. But I have every confidence they’ll give me the same great car they did tonight.”
Coming off his best Supercross season to date, Enzo Lopes has re-signed with Muc-Off / ClubMX Yamaha and will race for the team in 2024. The deal is for Supercross only.
Lopes debuted in the Supercross series in 2019 on a Suzuki and scored his first top-10 finishes in his last two starts of that season. Showing consistent improvement, he earned six top-10s in eight Main events the following year and finished fifth in the 250 East standings. In 2022, he scored his first top-five at Daytona and finished in the top five in points again.
“I am happy to be returning to ClubMX for another season,” Lopes said in a press release. “It is like family to me there and that is very important. Although I had many options, staying where I am makes the most sense for many reasons. The bikes are great, the people are great, the tracks are amazing, and I am surrounded by people that care about me. We all want to win and together we will get there.”
While he improved his season-best performance by only one position this year, it was nevertheless a breakout season. Lopes barely missed the podium three times in 2023 with fourth-place finishes at San Diego, Seattle, and Denver.
His strong performance him rumored to be speaking with factory teams.
“We could see the growth from Enzo every time he gets on the bike,” said team owner Brandon Haas. “We all knew it was just a matter of time before he would be noticed by everyone, and we are proud of him on many levels. He had some heat race wins and qualified fastest at three events this season. It would be hard not to be noticed going that fast. He had a big decision to make and we are glad he chose to stay with us at ClubMX.”
Lopes had three podium finishes in heat races this year, including a win preceding his fourth-place finish in Denver.