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Fontana IndyCar: Mikhail Aleshin in huge practice crash

Mikhail Aleshin crash fence damage, Fontana IndyCar 2014

Final practice for Saturday's IndyCar season-finale at Fontana was cut short by a massive accident involving Mikhail Aleshin at Turn 4.

The Russian was travelling at speed behind the car of Scott Dixon, who was slowing to enter the pits, when he spun.

His Schmidt Peterson Dallara was flicked up the track into that of Charlie Kimball, who was also at full speed on the high line and had nowhere to go.

Aleshin's car launched off Kimball's and flew into the fence, where it tore away a large section of mesh - leaving its right-front wheel tangled among the wires - before spinning violently back down onto the track and coming to rest.

Both the SPM car and Kimball's Ganassi machine sustained substantial damage, while several other drivers including Marco Andretti were unable to avoid the enormous debris field that was left behind.

"I saw Aleshin spinning and knew I was either going to make it through the smoke, or have a big pretty hit," said Kimball.

Kimball and Andretti were able to climb out of their cars unassisted and both were cleared to drive after being assessed at the infield medical centre.

Ganassi is now preparing Kimball's spare car for the race.

Aleshin, who was briefly knocked unconscious, was airlifted to the Loma Linda Medical Centre, complaining of injuries to his right shoulder and right foot.

FONTANA QUALIFYING: Castroneves on pole as Power struggles

The accident took place with just over 11 minutes remaining. Ryan Briscoe was leading the field with a fastest lap average of 218.660mph ahead of Ganassi team-mate Dixon - who had triggered a brief yellow earlier on with a harmless spin - and Penske's Will Power.

The session had originally been scheduled for mid-afternoon before being put back to sunset in order to better replicate the conditions expected for Saturday night's race.

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