By: Tanner Watkins
May 17, 2019 | 12:00 PM
A challenging week just became incredibly more difficult for Juncos Racing as Kyle Kaiser has crashed during Indianapolis 500 Fast Friday practice. The No. 32 Chevrolet was on its second lap of the day when Kaiser ended up in the wall.
Running a qualifying simulation with trimmed downforce, Kaiser had just completed a lap at 129.830 miles per hour and was settling into a lap at speed when the accident occurred. Entering Turn 3 on the north end of the track, Kaiser lost control of the rear end of his car near the corner’s apex.
“I’m fine. I’m very fortunate that the technology and safety within INDYCAR has gotten as good as it has today because that was definitely a big hit; I felt it,” said Kaiser after the accident.
“I am extremely grateful to be here talking to you guys right now. Overall, the car just felt like I lost it right in the middle of the corner. There really wasn’t much you could do. It felt pretty good in the first opening laps.
“We did some qualifying simulations during the week. Obviously, today we are going a little quicker so I’m not really sure (what went wrong). We will have to look at the data and see what happened there.”
Kaiser then began spinning towards the outside wall at the exit of Turn 3 and made contact with the car’s left front corner first. The car then smacked into the wall with the rest of the left side and began lifting off the ground as it slid across the North Chute.
With the underside of the car being exposed in a similar fashion to Patricio O’Ward’s accident yesterday, INDYCAR officials will certainly be evaluating why these cars are lifting off the ground.
To further complicate matters, when Kaiser’s car lifted off of the ground we saw the nose of the car dig into the track between Turns 3 and 4. The accident actually damaged the track – which is currently being repaired – but more importantly, it damaged the Juncos Racing primary tub. That team, if they can afford it, will be forced to go to a backup car.
TrackSide Online reported earlier that Juncos does indeed have a backup tub, but the question is whether or not the team will be able to pay for the repair damage. All of this comes in the same week where Juncos lost their two primary sponsors on Monday, the day before practice began.
The crash certainly complicates matters for the part-time team.
“Obviously, this is not what you want to be doing on the day before qualifying,” Kaiser admitted. “We will have to go back and see what our options are, but we are doing everything that we can to qualify for this race.”
Kaiser was checked and cleared from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway medical center and has been approved by INDYCAR to drive.
We will continue to update the situation as it continues to develop.
Header image by Chris Jones/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.