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Rookie Spencer Pigot sustains first hit of the month in Indy practice

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INDIANAPOLIS – Rookie Spencer Pigot, the reigning Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion, was the first driver to hit the wall in this year’s practice for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The driver of the No. 16 RLL/Mi-Jack/Manitowoc Honda lost control nearing the exit of Turn 1 and spun around late in the corner. The full spin around hit the left side of the car pretty hard just before 2 p.m.

While the car tilted up a bit on the left side, it did not appear under threat of going airborne on initial viewing.

This marks the first accident since the introduction of the domed skids on the underbody of the chassis, and the new rear wing beam flaps in the rear wheel pod assembly.

Pigot is out of the car, and was checked, cleared and released following a trip to the infield care center.

His car is done for the day. While the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team, initially sought to repair the primary car before any possible switch to a backup chassis, the primary car has now been tubbed and they’ll have to build up a new car.

“I feel fine physically. Just feel bad for the guys,” he said. “Not really sure what happened there. Before I knew it I was facing backwards. Difficult day before that. I thought we were getting through our plan. It’s a pretty big setback. Hopefully we can get back out in the next day or two.

“The car was feeling pretty good. Car was making improvements. Everything was feeing good. Just not sure what happened. We’ll have to look and see what caused the spin.

“It’s a big setback for me and the team. It’s not what you want to happen on the second day.”

F1 races in Austin, Mexico City hitting financial rough patches

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two of Formula One’s three races in North America are facing financial issues that are raising concern about their future.

Organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix won’t get at least $20 million from the state of Texas for the 2018 race after missing a paperwork deadline set by state law. And new questions lurk about the future of the Mexican Grand Prix after the country’s new president suggested the government may not spend on the race like it has the last four years.

Both races have been popular with drivers and fans, and have enjoyed key dates on the F1 calendar. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched season championships in Texas in 2015 and in Mexico City in 2017 and 2018.

Officials in Formula One and at the Circuit of the Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.