INDIANAPOLIS — Santino Ferrucci was involved in the first major crash of Indy 500 practice Thursday and needed help getting to a safety vehicle after suffering a minor injury during the hard impact in Turn 2.
Ferrucci was later evaluated and released from IU Health Methodist Hospital. IndyCar announced Friday morning that he was cleared to drive.
“I’m a little sore but happy to be here at IMS,” Ferrucci said. “The guys are working overly hard to make sure our Hy-Vee Honda is back on track and it’s going to be really quick.”
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver backed his No. 45 Dallara-Honda into the SAFER barrier in Turn 2 with a hour of 45 minutes remaining in a six-hour session.
After IndyCar AMR safety team workers needed a few minutes to extricate Ferrucci from his car, he was unable to put weight on his left leg outside the cockpit. He was carried to the waiting safety truck for a ride to the infield care center.
“It was your typical Turn 2 situation where the car gets a gust of wind and goes without warning,” Ferrucci said.
Dr. Geoffrey Billows, the medical director at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said “Santino’s fine,” but the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital for further evaluation.
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“He just has a minor injury on his left leg,” Dr. Billows told NBC Sports reporter Dillon Welch during practice coverage on Peacock. “We’re just sending him downtown for some advanced imaging. He’s able to bear weight. He’s conscious and alert. No really significant injuries.”
Asked whether Ferrucci would be cleared to return for practice Friday, Dr. Billows said, “I would think so, but it’s going to depend upon the rest of the evaluation.”
A statement from IndyCar later clarified that Ferrucci was undergoing further evaluation of his left foot.
Ferrucci had turned the third-fastest lap Thursday before the crash, which was the first over nearly three days of Indianapolis 500 practice for the May 30 race (11 a.m. ET, NBC) on the 2.5-mile oval.
The track returned to green 15 minutes after Ferrucci’s crash with 90 minutes left in practice for Thursday.
The session began at noon with nearly a massive crash as Colton Herta narrowly avoided disaster by brushing the outside wall in Turn 4 and then making light contact with Scott McLaughlin.
Herta angrily blamed the incident on Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, which seemingly was arranging a low-speed photo of drivers Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato and Ferrucci crossing the Yard of Bricks finish line.
IndyCar officials later penalized the Rahal drivers, announcing they’d be held from the first 30 minutes of practice Friday.