Fernando Alonso crashes on second day of Indianapolis 500 practice

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A tough start to Fernando Alonso’s second attempt at the Indianapolis 500 took a turn for the worse early Wednesday afternoon.

The McLaren Racing driver hit the outside wall in Turn 3 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then spun through the infield grass into a heavy rear-end impact with the inside wall. The No. 66 Dallara-Chevrolet slowly skidded back up the track and made light left-front contact with the SAFER barrier (video of the crash is available here or by watching above).

Alonso walked away from the crash and talked with Dillon Welch on the NBC Sports Gold broadcast after being treated and released from the track’s care center.

“Pure understeer on the car, I lifted the throttle, and it was not enough,” Alonso told Welch. “I lost it completely. The wall came too close and too quickly.

“Unfortunately, it happened today. We will lose a little bit of running time again. I’m sorry for the team, but we’ll learn and hopefully come back this time tomorrow.”

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Gil de Ferran, the sporting director for McLaren, told Welch in a separate interview that it was too early to decide whether the team would go to a backup car or fix its primary.

“We’ll just huddle around the car and assess the situation in the coming hours,” de Ferran said. “It looked like we’ve been suffering from understeer throughout the morning, and it understeered into the wall, and that was it.”

The two-time Formula One champion already had suffered through a difficult opening day Tuesday when his car was plagued by electrical problems and ranked 32nd on the speed chart.

Alonso told reporters that his car handled “much better” Wednesday before the crash.

“Definitely we were moving in the right direction,” he said. “Small steps that we learned today that hopefully we can bring for next time. … These things happen in motorsport. Better today than on (May 26 race day). Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Alonso, who was part of the team that won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in January, finished 24th as a rookie in the 2017 Indy 500, leading 27 laps before suffering an engine failure.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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