AVONDALE, La. – The sixth and final full-course caution to cap off a chaotic afternoon in the Bayou stirred controversy like an individual stirring gumbo in a restaurant.
A three-car accident occurred on Lap 43 between Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais, when Pagenaud was off course at the exit of Turn 3, careened back into Hunter-Reay and forced Hunter-Reay’s airborne, into Bourdais and forcing all three of them off the road and into the barriers.
It cost each of them likely top-10 finishes and ended the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana under yellow.
Unsurprisingly, opinions varied on who was to blame for the accident, although mercifully each driver was OK.
“I’m peddling the car car all the way out, it’s loose and there’s just no more room for him to be out there,” Hunter-Reay told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee. “Bourdais is on my left side, I don’t know where to go at that point.
“Bourdais is right there on my left, Pagenaud is on my right. I’m using my regular racing line, he stuck his nose out there and he’s off the racing line…there’s no more room. I don’t know where he was going with it. Then he cleans us both out. He’s lucky all three of us are not injured at all.”
Pagenaud’s take came next, offered to NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast.
“…..I’m inside of the next corner, but it seems like it’s his track, so he runs me off and look at what happened,” Pagenaud said. “That was really dangerous, really bad for Sebastian, who had a great race, bad for him. he didn’t deserve to be in that crash. To me that’s just not a professional move.”
Hunter-Reay explained his conversation with Pagenaud following the contact.
“Pagenaud and I just talked real quick and he said ‘you ran me out of room,’ and I said there was no room in the first place, so I don’t know where you want me to put the car. Bourdais is right there, it’s a tight fit. He put his car out there and now we’re all sitting on the side of the road.
“I don’t know what to say to that, its certainly a racing incident.”
Bourdais, who was an innocent bystander taken out in the impact, explained his vantage point.
“It was a pretty nasty hit, just at head level,” Bourdais told Lee. “(Hunter-Reay) missed my head by a couple of inches. The tub is actually broken right at my shoulder. He (Pagenaud) was pretty worried, it was a big hit.”
Daniel McFadin contributed to this post