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Pagenaud not cleared by IndyCar medics after “wildest ride of my career”

IndyCar has declared that Simon Pagenaud will not be allowed to qualify for this weekend’s Mid-Ohio round, following his wild high-speed, barrel-rolling accident in practice this morning.

Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Pagenaud reported a brake failure at the end of the 180mph backstretch at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The 2016 champion and ’19 Indy 500 winner’s Meyer Shank Racing car hit the grass verge at barely abated speed, before becoming airborne.

As it hit the gravel, which is on a downslope at ‘China Beach’, the car was launched into six-and-a-half somersaults and came to rest on its side. After being rescued from his wrecked car by the AMR safety crew, Pagenaud was able to walk away.

 

Following his release from the medical centre after a check-up, he was asked by NBC Peacock what went through his head during such a big crash: “Oh shit, it’s gonna hurt! It was a helluva ride. For sure, something broke and I couldn’t slow down so I tried to make the corner anyway.

“I know that gravel is deadly, I know that Michael Andretti has done it [referring to Michael’s huge crash there in the 1998 race] I guess I’m joining another legend, so that’s cool, but I was just trying to bail out.

“It’s downhill, which is nuts. Basically, the car took off, so when I hit the gravel I just rolled. [I'm] glad I didn’t go over the tyrewall and so glad of the aeroscreen, great safety thanks to IndyCar.

“Definitely the wildest ride of my career. The funny thing is my first crash was actually in the exact same circumstances. So, yeah, interesting.”

Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Team boss Mike Shank also told NBC that there were no obvious signs of why the brakes didn’t function in terms of broken parts or leaking fluids, as they took pieces off his shattered car to add to the spare tub that they are now building up.

Pagenaud claimed he was feeling fine after the huge shunt: “I’m ready, I can get back in now, it’s not a problem. It’s going to be the doctor’s decision, it was a pretty big hit, so there’s a protocol to follow. And that’s to keep the drivers safe.”

But a statement from IndyCar read: “As per IndyCar protocol, Pagenaud has not been cleared to return to racing today. He will be re-evaluated in tomorrow morning.”

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