By: Tanner Watkins
May 18, 2019 | 1:30 PM
After missing the Indianapolis 500 last year due to qualifications bumping, James Hinchcliffe’s status for the 2019 Greatest Spectacle in Racing is in limbo after a crash in qualifying this afternoon.
Hinchcliffe, who had gone 228.159 miles per hour on his first timed lap during qualifying, lost the rear end of his car quickly after entering Turn 2 on his second lap. The Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry rotated approximately 220 degrees and hit with the left front corner of the car first, later slapping the rest of the left side on the wall.
After making wall contact on the SAFER barrier, Hinchcliffe’s car caught air and nearly rolled over in a similar fashion to Kyle Kaiser and Patricio O’Ward’s crashes in the last couple of days. After a couple minutes’ worth of attention by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team, Hinchcliffe was able to climb out of his car under his own power.
The Canadian has since been released by the IU Health Medical Center at the Speedway and INDYCAR has cleared him to drive.
Hinchcliffe was surprised that his car stepped out in the fashion that it did, stating that Turns 1 and 2 were his most comfortable on the track up to that point.
“I am feeling alright, obviously the safety (team) in this series is top notch so big thanks to everybody on that,” said Hinchcliffe after exiting the medical center. “The car was on the edge for sure. We were a little loose in (Turns) 3 and 4, but (Turns) 1 and 2 were solid. I was sort of planning on dialing in some understeer on the North side of the track on that lap, but something just caught me in (Turn) 2.
“I don’t know if it was a gust of wind or what; we had been pretty aggressive on the setup, and with a gusty day, that is what happens. Pretty much our nightmare.”
After the accident, Hinchcliffe acknowledged that this was the risk of qualifying at Indianapolis and running at the ragged edge through 10 miles of qualifications.
“That is what it is like being on the edge here at Indy – that is what it is all about. We obviously overstepped today, which is unfortunate. I thought the Arrow car was going to be good… It is a shame. I don’t know what to say, man. It is tough.”
Hinchcliffe walked away from the media center with a limp, but his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team is already working on a backup car to try and get him back out for at least a run on Sunday. They are hopeful that they can get one run in before the 5:50 PM Eastern deadline today, but the No. 5 would have to make an install lap run with the track opening for practice today.
That would require a break in the qualifying line with no cars wanting to post an attempt at some point in the afternoon.
We will continue to update Hinchcliffe’s situation as they progress today.
Header image by James Black/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.