Colton Herta and Rinus VeeKay were unhurt after a wild crash during a Lap 156 restart in the NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.
As IndyCar waved off the start, Herta still was accelerating, and his No. 88 Dallara-Honda collided with the left rear of VeeKay’s No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet.
The impact launched Herta’s car into the air and it pirouetted above the frontstretch SAFER barrier for about 30 feet before violently returning to the pavement.
LAST TO FIRST: Simon Pagenaud wins in Iowa
“It happened so fast, I wasn’t really sure what was going on, but I’m happy to report, I’m fine,” Herta told NBCSN pit reporter Kelli Stavast. “No injuries. I feel perfectly fine and fit to drive (in Saturday’s race).”
Herta’s streak of four consecutive top 10 finishes was snapped. He said he wasn’t slowing down because he wasn’t aware the restart was aborted. IndyCar officials said they waved off the restart because Pato O’Ward was ruled to have jumped the start.
“I wasn’t told the restart was called off,” Herta said. “I was told green. I wasn’t going to go by the lights when I was told green. So that’s what happened. And there you go. I guess everyone else got the message. Happy to be OK.”
Here’s a sequence of photos from the crash:
VeeKay also was checked and released from the care center and cleared to drive.
“It really sucks,” VeeKay told Stavast. “We were having ana amazing race. This could have been a podium or maybe even a win. Really a bummer. I know we have an amazing car to go for a podium or a win tomorrow. I’m really confident.”
VeeKay also credited being uninjured in the Colton Herta crash to the aeroscreen, which was introduced this year by IndyCar for enhanced cockpit safety by essentially adding a windshield to help protect drivers’ heads.
“Yeah, I’m very happy, especially with the safety,” VeeKay said. “I stepped out. I saw the whole row. So yeah, the screen was destroyed. Thank you to IndyCar for the great safety cell and let’s go for it tomorrow.”
Aeroscreen appreciation tweet. pic.twitter.com/z404udy0ri
— Rinus VeeKay (@rinusveekay) July 18, 2020
Race winner Simon Pagenaud said his first thought upon seeing “two cars flying behind me pretty high was, ‘Thank God we’ve got the aeroscreen. Again, I’ve been in big favor of the aeroscreen for safety. Unfortunately being around what happened to Justin (Wilson, who was killed after being struck by debris in an August 2015 crash at Pocono Raceway) was really tough, really tough for everybody.
“Obviously being there and seeing it happen was extremely hard, so I’m so glad that IndyCar is doing everything they can to be the pioneer into a new level of safety, and I welcome it.”
Said Team Penske driver Will Power, who also was protected from a loose left-front wheel that was jarred loose and went flying over his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet in a crash: “Man, I can’t thank IndyCar enough for everything they’ve done safety-wise with the aeroscreen and halo inside the aeroscreen. You just saw Colton Herta go over the top of someone, and they’ve just done a tremendous job. It’s better than any other series that have implemented something like it. Just a very good job.”