Tony Kanaan says older part, reinforced suspension contributed to Hinchcliffe’s crash and injury

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MOORESVILLE, N.C. – While the focus at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been on keeping cars on the pavement during crashes, Tony Kanaan believes James Hinchcliffe’s Monday wreck offered another important reminder.

Sometimes, there is no preventable solution.

“We’re not going to be able to make a car 100 percent safe,” Kanaan said Tuesday during a news conference at the GoPro Motorplex near Charlotte. “When you hit a wall at 215 mph, and I’m going to tell you that all that happened, he didn’t break a single bone. But he had a suspension (piece) going through your leg. I’m not trying to say it’s not that bad. But it’s really not that bad.

“We’re obviously going to look into if we can prevent more, we already had intrusion panels in the past years, the car is already reinforced and so on. Unfortunately like everywhere, how we learned from it is something has to happen for us to react.”

Hinchcliffe remained at IU Health Methodist Hospital in stable condition after undergoing emergency surgery for an injury to his pelvic area and upper left high. Part of the car’s wishbone reportedly compromised the cockpit from beneath the seat, piercing Hinchliffe’s legs and causing severe bleeding. He is out indefinitely.

Kanaan suffered a similar injury in an April 13, 2003 race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan and managed to return to finish third a month later for the Indianapolis 500. The 2004 series champion said Hinchliffe’s crash was the first involving an IndyCar driver being hurt by a part piercing the car’s tub since the introduction of the DW12 chassis in 2012.

“We never had one since the old car, so how are you going to guess that (is going to happen),” Kanaan said. “I guess we will look into it, but it’s one of those things that sometimes it’s the law of physics. You can’t prevent everything from happening.”

The 2013 Indy 500 winner said teams have reinforced their cars’ suspensions to prevent failures from handling greater loads of downforce, but it also can cause injuries such as Hinchcliffe’s because the parts aren’t as prone to collapsing during a crash. “The suspension that came through his leg didn’t bend,” Kanaan said. “It was a like a saw, straight in and through both legs.”

Hinchcliffe’s crash occurred because of a failure in the right-front suspension. Kanaan said it was an older part than what was being used on his Chip Ganassi Racing car.

“We made sure right after the crash, that’s why we stopped (practice) for so long,” Kanaan said. “All the cars got checked, and I’m pretty sure whoever had the old part, it got replaced.”

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans