Another day, and another driver mercifully OK after a scary moment at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After Simona de Silvestro’s fuel leak caused a fire on Tuesday and Helio Castroneves’ aerial somersault on Wednesday, Josef Newgarden has now had an accident similar to Castroneves’ but a bit different in actuality in the final hour of Thursday practice.
Newgarden’s car snapped through Turn 1, went in nose first, dug into the wall with the left sidepod and flew up backwards before rolling over and landing on the airbox.
“It’s still early for me, I am still trying to gather my thoughts from it,” Newgarden said in a statement released by his CFH Racing team.
“I got around pretty quick in Turn 1, it definitely surprised me. I am just lucky that everything is good, the Dallara tub held up pretty well. I want to get back with my crew and see what the damage is and see what we can do going forward.”
Newgarden appeared shaken but is out of the car. He has been checked, released and cleared to drive.
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.