Hinchcliffe Crashes Out of 2015 Indy 500

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 18 2015
James Hinchcliffe will not be celebrating in Indy this coming weekend.

James Hinchcliffe will not be celebrating in Indy this coming weekend.

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe has crashed-out of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital for an injury to his left upper thigh Monday afternoon, according to a report from Dr. Michael bugindy500Olinger, INDYCAR medical director for the series.

Hinchcliffe underwent surgery and was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit and remains in stable condition.

“Obviously we’re relieved that James is awake and out of surgery,” said Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt. “That’s the most important thing on our minds right now and we will do absolutely everything required to ensure a complete recovery.”

Hinchcliffe was awake when transported by ground to the hospital following a single-car accident during practice for the 99th Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day. The Canadian’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda made heavy right-side contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier.

Hinchcliffe had qualified the car 24th Sunday with a four-lap/10-mile average of 223.519 mph.

“Pretty frustrating, because we ran 225s in practice,” said Hinchcliffe, driver of the No.5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda. “The wind unfortunately picked up and caught us off-guard a little bit. It’s a shame for the guys. Everybody here at Schmidt Peterson put such a big effort in to making these cars prepped for qualifying and try to go for those big speeds. We had them this morning, and it just didn’t happen this afternoon.

“It’s frustrating. It’s kind of Russian Roulette a little bit. It all depends on what the wind decides to do during your run. A gust of a couple miles an hour difference can make a huge effect on lap times. It’s a bit of a bummer. But at the end of the day, Ryan (Hunter-Reay) won this from the mid-teens (19th) last year. We’ve just got to stay clean on Sunday.”

Unfortunately, “Hinch” never got past Monday.

Hinchcliffe’s crash was the fourth of the Month of May on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, but the first involving a car fitted with Honda’s new superspeedway aero it. Both Chevrolet and Honda marked the debuts of their superspeedway aero kits at IMS this month as complements to their 2.2-liter, turbocharged, direct-injection V-6 engines. The manufacturers ran the first five races of 2015 with their new road-course/street and short-oval aero packages.

Chevrolet drivers Helio Castroneves of Team Penske and Josef Newgarden and Ed Carpenter of CFH Racing also crashed this week when their cars got airborne. Castroneves is a three-time Indy 500 champion, and Carpenter had qualified on-pole for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2013-14.

As a result of Carpenter’s crash, INDYCAR officials announced a series of specification changes prior to time trials. Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, parent of INDYCAR and IMS, issued the following changes:

– Turbocharger boost level, which was increased from 130 kPa to 140 kPa for “Fast Friday” practice May 15 and scheduled qualifications over the weekend, was returned to 130 kPa. That related to about a 40 horsepower reduction to the Chevrolet and Honda engines. The boost level was at 130 kPa for Monday’s practice, and will be in effect for Coors Light Carb Day on Friday, as well as the 200-lap race on Sunday. ABC’s live coverage of the race will start at 11 a.m. (EDT).

– The aerodynamic bodywork package that the Chevrolet- and Honda-aligned entries qualified with must be utilized during the race. Downforce was increased on the superspeedway platforms for added stability.

Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 champion, qualified his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet on-pole with an average speed of 226.760 mph under the revised rules package.

Additional updates on Hinchcliffe’s condition, and a substitute driver, will be released when available.


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 18 2015
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