Kyle Kaiser’s Indy 500 bid in doubt after airborne crash in practice

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INDIANAPOLIS — Kyle Kaiser became the fourth driver in three days to slam the wall in Indianapolis 500 practice, nearly flipping his Dallara-Chevrolet after a heavy impact Friday in Turn 3.

Kaiser was checked at the care center and cleared to drive after destroying the front and right side of his No. 32 in the crash, which happened 51 minutes into the Fast Friday practice that began at 11 a.m. ET.

“I’m fine,” Kaiser told Dillon Welch on the NBC Sports Gold broadcast. “I’m very fortunate that the technology and safety within the car has gotten as good as it has today because I felt it. So extremely grateful to be here to talk with you guys now.

“Overall, I felt like I lost it in the middle of the corner. There really wasn’t much I could do. It felt pretty good in the first opening laps. We’ll have to look at the data and see what happened. We’ll have to see what our options are, but obviously, we’ll do everything we can to qualify for this race.”

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The Juncos Racing driver was driving a blank white car after losing its primary sponsor this month.

Kyle Kaiser’s Dallara-Chevrolet goes airborne after hitting the wall along the third turn (AP Photo/Tom Pyle).

Asked by NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast about the prospects of putting Kaiser in a car for qualifying Saturday, team owner Richard Juncos said, “I don’t know at this point. It’s too recent for the situation. We know this can happen. It’s no surprise.”

Stavast later reported that Juncos Racing was moving forward with preparing the backup car amidst increasing sponsor interest for being in the May 26 race.

Friday marked the first practice in which teams were given extra boost of 30 horsepower in preparation for qualifying Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to Kaiser, Felix Rosenqvist and Fernando Alonso crashed Wednesday, and Pato O’Ward hit the wall Thursday.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.