With his Dallara-Chevrolet nearly flipping over, Pato O’Ward became the third driver in two days to endure a hard crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Carlin Racing driver escaped injury Thursday afternoon after his car briefly went airborne after a hard impact with the SAFER barrier on the exit of Turn 2.
O’Ward’s car went nose first into the outside wall and then lifted off the pavement after its left rear spun into an impact.
The 2018 Indy Lights champion was cleared to race after a visit to the IMS care center.
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“I’m OK,” O’Ward told NBC Sports Gold after his release. “I went for a ride. There are two kinds of people at IMS — the ones who are going to hit the wall and the ones who have already hit the wall.
“Oh, I hit hard. I felt it and maybe hit the side of the monocoque. My hands are a bit sore. The good thing is we are OK. It looks like I just lost it, I guess. There is not much more I can say about that. It looks like I’m OK. The team is going to get a car ready for the next sessions or for Friday. They are getting the spare car ready.”
The crash comes in the wake of heavy impacts during practice Wednesday for Fernando Alonso and Felix Rosenqvist.
MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.
That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.
“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.
“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”
With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.
After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.
“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”
Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.
Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.
Click here for full race results
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