Alex Zanardi laps Daytona in preparation for the 24 Hour race

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A near fatal crash in the 2001 American Memorial at Euro Speedway Lausitz in Germany would have ended the career of a mere mortal.

Alex Zanardi is no mere mortal.

After clawing his way from 22nd to lead on Lap 124 of the 154-lap race, Zanardi spun exiting the pits on Lap 142. He was collected by Alex Tagliani. As a result of the accident, he lost both legs. In just three years, Zanardi was back behind the wheel of a race car full-time, piloting specially fitted touring cars.

In 2019, Zanardi will face one of his biggest challenges since his fateful accident: He will compete in a specially adapted M8 GTE along with Jesse Krohn, John Edwards and Chaz Mostert in the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona.

Earlier this month, Zanardi climbed behind the wheel of his BMW and took some laps around the track.

Ride along with the video above.

 

INDYCAR: Patricio O’Ward turns heads in Carlin debut

Chris Jones / IndyCar
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While the top story coming out of Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas is undoubtedly 18-year-old Colton Herta’s victory in only his third IndyCar start, another teenager made quite some noise during the first IndyCar race at the facility.

19-year-old Patricio O’Ward made an impressive start to his 2019 IndyCar campaign by starting and finishing in eighth position. It was the first of his 13 races this season for Carlin Racing.

“I think it was a pretty good race for us. We ended exactly where we started and didn’t go backwards, so I’d say that was a successful day” O’Ward said. “I know the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet had a top-five finish in it today and even though we couldn’t make it happen, it’s nice to know that we have the pace and can be fighting up front with the veteran drivers.”

O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champ, made his series debut for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he made it to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and finished ninth. O’Ward was scheduled to race for the team full-time in 2019, but left in early February to pursue other options due to a lack of sponsorship.

Pato found a new home with Carlin, and despite missing preseason testing, he proved to be competitive from the get go and pressured some of IndyCar’s more tenured drivers, including Graham Rahal.

In what was undoubtedly the most daring move of the race, O’Ward ended a great battle with Rahal by hitting a superb outside pass on Lap 15.

O’Ward may have likely earned a better result on Sunday, if he didn’t have to save fuel in order to make the finish.

But with only two IndyCar starts to his credit, he is already racing like a seasoned veteran. Sunday’s IndyCar Classic may be the first of many successful outings for him this year.

After the race, he tweeted to his team: “Well done gentlemen … This is only the beginning.”

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