JR Hildebrand sustains hand injury at end of Long Beach race (VIDEO)

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – A seemingly innocuous bit of contact between Mikhail Aleshin and JR Hildebrand on the 85th and final lap of today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the second race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, has left Hildebrand with a broken bone in his left hand and not yet cleared to drive.

Aleshin and Hildebrand collided and it knocked the Sausalito, Calif. native, back for his first full season in the series for the first time since 2012, into the runoff. Hildebrand’s car got airborne briefly when trying to overtake Aleshin, and then slid into the runoff.

Hildebrand, driver of the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing retired from the race at that point and Aleshin was docked one position for blocking.

In a statement, INDYCAR medical director Dr. Geoffrey Billows said Hildebrand will be re-evaluated upon his return to Indianapolis this week and has not been cleared to drive.

“At the end of the race, we all were bunched back up because of that last yellow,” Hildebrand explained. “I was on reds and had a little bit for at least the handful of cars in front of us. On the last lap, I was making a move on Mikhail Aleshin and I could tell he was struggling.

“I was out of push-to-pass so I was trying to make a proper, full-out pass down he front straightaway. He had been starting to move over, not a major blocking maneuver but enough to assert his line. He hit the brake a lot earlier than I was expecting and I ended up running into the back of him.

“In doing so, it ripped the steering wheel from my hand and I ended up tweaking it. At the end of the day, to come home with an 11th place finish isn’t terrible. It is a bummer though as we were certainly on our way to finishing in the Top 10 and now we are in a bit of a jam going forward. Hopefully I can get back to it here before the next race.”

The contact was Aleshin’s second of the day, the first of which occurred with Tony Kanaan and left the Brazilian with a flat left rear tire.

A less than pleased Kanaan took to Twitter shortly thereafter, as this was his second contact with Aleshin in as many races.

Conor Daly honors friend killed Saturday amid Indianapolis unrest

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IndyCar driver Conor Daly posted a poignant tribute to Chris Beaty, a former Indiana University football player and Indianapolis business owner who was killed Saturday amid protests and rioting in the city.

Daly said he got to know Beaty, who owned an event and marketing promotions company, five years ago when he was organizing Indianapolis 500 afterparties.

Daly annually had been involved in Beaty’s parties since then and said Beaty helped get him home earlier this year when Daly’s blood sugar crashed while at an event.

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“The world lost a tremendous person. RIP Chris Beaty,” wrote Daly, who also tweeted “The violence has to stop.”

According to the Indianapolis Star, Beaty died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds during Saturday night’s unrest in downtown Indianapolis. It’s unclear if the shooting was tied to the protests.

Graham Rahal also posted about his interaction with Beaty.

Daly, Rahal and the rest of the IndyCar Series will return to action Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBC).