IndyCar: Briscoe goes airborne in frightening crash, but emerges unscathed

4 Comments

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.

WATCH: Full replay of Saturday’s race

“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.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
0 Comments

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)