In one of the most frightening wrecks of the season, Ryan Briscoe went airborne and flipped end-over-end on the final lap of Saturday’s MAV TV 500 IndyCar race – and then simply walked away, thankfully uninjured.
As the white flag lap began at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Juan Pablo Montoya’s car came up on Ryan Hunter-Reay, who explained what happened from there.
“I wasn’t expecting Montoya to come up,” Hunter-Reay told NBCSN. “I was just sitting next to, not sure, and waiting to get into Turn 1 and Montoya came right up and clipped the front of the car.”
Hunter-Reay got on the brakes, but the impact sent his car hooking to the left and right into Briscoe’s right front.
Briscoe went end-over-end, flipped upside down and hit hard into the ACS infield turf.
“It’s tough, it was pack racing,” Hunter-Reay said. “It was crazy. I was getting pushed down and up comes Montoya. I’m just glad Briscoe is OK. That was a nasty flip he took there. It could have gone a lot worse.”
Beccy Gordon, Hunter-Reay’s wife, was quite upset about both the closing laps, as well as the last-lap incident.
It spoiled what potentially might have been a top-five finish for Hunter-Reay and Briscoe, as well.
“One lap to go,” he quipped. “Figures we couldn’t make it to the finish. It was looking like a good finish. We turned some things around and we’ll look to do that again in Milwaukee.”
Briscoe took the incident in stride.
”First thing I did was to call my wife and tell her I’m ok,” Briscoe said with a smile. “She’s more distraught than any of us.”
Indeed, his spouse, sportscaster Nicole Briscoe, was.
“No one made that happen intentionally,” Ryan Briscoe added. “The racing was so close all day. Unfortunately, something bad did happen, but we’re all okay, which is a testament to the safety of the cars.”
In a sense, being deprived of a good finish actually wound up probably hurting Briscoe more than the actual impact itself.
“We wish it didn’t (happen),” he said. “It’s not the way we wanted to go out. It would have been really nice to bring a strong result home.”
Briscoe then took time out to wish fellow driver James Hinchcliffe well and tried to leave Fontana with an optimistic outlook.
“We want to keep wishing Hinch a quick recovery,” Briscoe said. “We’ve got a good car and a great team and I think we’re going to have a real shot at winning races this year.”